UpdateShell gears for Singapore cracker start-up; ethylene prices weak

26 February 2010 03:18  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Petrochemical giant Shell said on Friday that commissioning work has begun to start up its 800,000 tonne/year cracker in Singapore.

Major construction activities at its ethylene cracker complex (ECC) had been completed as scheduled, the company said in a statement.

The new ECC is part of Shell Eastern Petrochemicals Complex (SEPC) in the southeast Asian country.

The cracker was the second plant built at the Singapore complex after the 750,000 tonne/year mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) plant, which started operations on 11 December, Shell said.

Ethylene prices have been weakening even before Shell’s plant commissioning, with buying interest expected to be very thin for March-arrival cargoes, traders said.

“March is already over because tanks are quite full. What happens after that will depend very much on how much exports are coming out from the Middle East and from crackers in the region,” said a Singapore-based olefins producer.

In southeast Asia, ethylene prices fell below the $1,300/tonne (€962/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) level this week on the back of availability from the Middle East amid derivative production woes, and ahead of the impending start up of new crackers in the region.

A deal was heard concluded on Monday at $1,280/tonne CFR SE Asia for arrival before mid March, but another fixture surfaced on Friday at around $1,200/tonne CFR SE Asia for arrival in early April, market sources said.

With additional reporting by Peh Soo Hwee

($1 = €0.74)

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By: Pearl Bantillo
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