UpdateTaiwan's Formosa to restart No 1 cracker in end-Sep/early Oct

30 July 2010 10:37  [Source: ICIS news]

(adds comments from traders)

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Taiwan’s Formosa Petrochemical Corp (FPC) is likely to restart its 700,000 tonne/year No 1 cracker in Mailiao in late September/early October, after a blast in early July shut down the plant, a company spokesperson said on Friday.

As for the 1.03m tonne/year No 2 cracker at the same site, “it’s very likely that the scheduled maintenance will be postponed", Formosa spokesperson Lin Keh-Yen told ICIS.

"It’s not mandatory to shut the cracker in August,” he said.

At this juncture, Formosa could not provide a firm date on the potential postponement.

“If the turnaround of cracker No 2 were to be postponed, this will be bullish news for the market,” said a trader in Singapore.

Formosa is one of Asia’s top naphtha buyers, which easily mops up of at least 300,000 tonnes of spot naphtha each month due to reduced term purchases this year, traders said.

On signs of an improving market, the spread between first-half September and October contracts narrowed to -50 cents/tonne on Friday from -$6/tonne on the previous week, ICIS data showed.

Meanwhile, Formosa has partially restarted its 540,000 bpd refinery in Mailiao, following a recent outage, Lin said

The refinery houses three 180,000bbl/day crude units.

“We have restarted a crude unit. There is no output yet,” Lin said, adding that another 180,000bbl/day crude unit in Mailiao would be restarted next week.

The company would also restart its two 84,000bbl/day residual fluid catalytic crackers and an unaffected 80,000bbl/day desulphuriser at the site, Lin said.

An oil leakage led to a fire on 25 July at Formosa's 73,000bbl/day desulphuriser in Mailiao. This unit would stay shut, Lin said.

To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: Felicia Loo

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