China’s ZRCC restarts cracker, some derivatives up and running

17 June 2010 05:58  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Sinopec subsidiary Zhenhai Refining & Chemical Co (ZRCC) restarted its 1m tonne/year cracker at Ningbo in eastern China as scheduled on 12 June, company sources said on Thursday.

While company sources said the cracker was running at close to full rates, according to market players it was operating at only around 70-80% as a 450,000 tonne/year downstream polyethylene (PE) plant was still off line due to poor economics. 

It was also not immediately clear if a 300,000 tonne/year polypropylene (PP) line had resumed operations, sources said, adding that most of the other derivative plants were up and running.

ZRCC has ramped up the operating rate at its 650,000 tonne/year new monoethylene glycol (MEG) unit to around 80% after the restart, another company source said.

“Our MEG output has reached around 1,500 tonnes/day, and we are aiming to slowly raise it to 1,600-1,700 tonnes/day in one to two months to test the stability of the facility,” the source said.

The company expected to deliver the first batch of MEG from the plant to customers on 17 June, the source added.

On-spec production was also achieved at a derivative propylene oxide (PO)/styrene monomer (SM) plant – a joint venture between ZRCC and US’s LyondellBasell.

The facility at Ningbo - China’s largest - has a nameplate capacity of 285,000 tonnes/year of PO and 620,000 tonnes/year of SM.

Compressor problems had forced ZRCC to shut the cracker on 28 April, days after it was started up, and production at derivative units was also halted due to a lack of feedstock.

The company had earlier tried to restart the cracker on 20 May, but had encountered problems during the process, according to an earlier report by ICIS news.

Additional reporting by Becky Zhang

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By: Peh Soo Hwee
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