UpdateExxonMobil starts Singapore complex nine-week turnaround

09 March 2011 03:33  [Source: ICIS news]

ExxonMobil Singapore facilitySINGAPORE (ICIS)--ExxonMobil started on Wednesday a planned maintenance at its integrated manufacturing site in Singapore, the petrochemical giant said in a statement.

It said "several operating units" would be off line for about nine weeks, without identifying the plants that would be affected.

"Shutting down the units will provide an opportunity for detailed inspection of equipment normally in continuous operation; routine maintenance; and installation of facility improvement projects," ExxonMobil said.

ExxonMobil’s Singapore integrated manufacturing site consists of the Singapore Refinery and the Singapore Chemical Plant (SCP).

The refinery has a pipestill capacity of 605,000 bbl/day and manufactures a wide range of fuels, lubricant basestocks and specialty products that caters to the Singapore and Asia-Pacific markets, it said.

The SCP, meanwhile, comprises five integrated units, the company said.

Key ethylene traders in Asia were surprised by the turnaround announcement at ExxonMobil’s complex.

"This is the first time I am hearing about this," said one trader based in Japan.

ExxonMobil has a 900,000 tonne/year cracker at the site.

The SCP has capacities for 520,000 tonnes/year of propylene, 270,000 tonnes/year of butenes and 85,000 tonnes/year of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), according to ExxonMobil’s website.

Furthermore, ExxonMobil’s Singapore facility can produce 600,000 tonnes/year of polyethylene (PE), 405,000 tonnes/year of polypropylene (PP), 450,000 tonnes/year of paraxylene (PX), 240,000 tonnes/year of benzene, 220,000 tonnes/year of oxo-alcohol and 35,000 tonnes/year of isopar.

The maintenance shutdown, however, was most likely concentrated on the refinery side, market sources said.

Traders said that ExxonMobil had covered its naphtha requirements for March, having bought over 100,000 tonnes for that month.

“They bought the March cargoes earlier,” said one trader.

Meanwhile, a major PX buyer said that ExxonMobil had not indicated cuts in contract volumes for March and April.

In case the PX unit was among the plants due for maintenance, the US major might have to secure additional volumes form the spot market to meet contractual obligations.

ExxonMobil is a major PX supplier to Malaysia, India, Thailand, China and Indonesia.

Additional reporting by Felicia Loo, Peh Soo Hwee and Bohan Loh

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By: Pearl Bantillo
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