26 April 2010 20:00 [Source: ICIS news]
SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Energy giant ExxonMobil said on Tuesday that a phased commissioning of its second major petrochemical complex in Singapore would start in the second half of the year.
The project would include a 1m tonne/year ethylene cracker, two polyethylene (PE) trains of 650,000 tonnes/year each, a 300,000 tonne/year specialty elastomers unit and an aromatics extraction unit to produce 340,000 tonnes/year of benzene.
A 125,000 tonne/year expansion of the company's oxo-alcohol plant was also part of the project.
"Commissioning will be going on in the second half of this year, and the start up would be occurring on all these different units till 2011," said Jeffery Davis, manufacturing director for Asia-Pacific at ExxonMobil, in a briefing.
"We have to bring them on in phases - one unit at a time," he said, adding that the expansion of the alcohol plant had been completed so far.
The cracker would likely be the last one to go on stream, he said.
"We want to have all the downstream units started up [and] shaken down before we bring the cracker up," Davis said.
"When you bring the cracker up, you want everything else to be able to run. You want those other units to use up the molecules that the cracker is providing," he said.
ExxonMobil said in a statement that all seven furnace modules required for the new Singapore cracker had been delivered at the site from Thailand, the last of which arrived on 19 April.
Engineering work on the furnace modules took 19 months to finish, and the actual building of the structures in Thailand was completed in 17 months, the company said.
Davis said ExxonMobil "still has a long way to go" in completing the whole project but everything was proceeding as per schedule.
Upon completion of the project, ExxonMobil would have its largest owned and operated complex and integrated chemical and refining site in Singapore.
The financial crisis that triggered the collapse in demand in the petrochemical industry had not affected the company's investment strategy, Davis said.
"We anticipated the industry to be going into a downcycle, but we didn't anticipate it to be led by a financial crisis," he said.
"[But] we have the financial power that we don't have to alter our plans and strategy as we go through this [difficult] period," Davis said.
Some projects, such as the Jurong Aromatics project, in Singapore fell victim to the credit crunch early last year.
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