UpdateShell Singapore's 800,000 tonne/year cracker suffers outage

04 August 2010 08:23  [Source: ICIS news]

(adds Shell’s comments)

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Energy giant Shell’s new 800,000 tonne/year mixed-feed cracker in Singapore suffered an outage and was shut on Tuesday evening, market sources said on Wednesday.

“There was flaring since yesterday,” said one source.

In an e-mailed reply to ICIS, a Shell spokesperson said: “The flare system at Shell's Pulau Bukom manufacturing site was activated in the afternoon of 3 August 2010 due to an unplanned disruption to a process unit.”

“The rest of the operations [were] not affected,” said the spokesperson, without elaborating on the current status of the cracker.

Ethylene prices climbed up $20/tonne ($15.2/tonne) to $870-900/tonne CFR (cost and freight) NE Asia on Tuesday’s close, matching prices of between $880-900/tonne CFR NE Asia four weeks ago, ICIS data showed.

Commissioned in March, the cracker - an integral part of Shell Eastern Petrochemicals Complex (SEPC) – could also produce 450,000 tonnes/year of propylene and 230,000 tonnes/year of benzene.

The new cracker has been running at around 80% of capacity since it was started up because of some unidentified issues, according to market sources.

SEPC is Shell’s largest fully integrated refinery and petrochemicals hub.

The olefins and aromatics products from the cracker would be used primarily for Shells downstream chemical plants in Jurong Island, including the Shell mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) plant. Its 750,000 tonne/year MEG plant in Singapore opened in December 2009.

($1 = €0.76)

With additional reporting by Mahua Chakravarty, Aaron Cheong and Pearl Bantillo

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By: Felicia Loo

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