UpdateS Korea's SKGC shuts Ulsan reformer on technical issues

12 October 2011 10:07  [Source: ICIS news]

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SINGAPORE (ICIS)--South Korean aromatics producer, SK Global Chemical (SKGC) has shut a reformer at its Ulsan-based complex because of mechanical issues, industry sources said on Wednesday.

The company took the 45,000 bbl/day reformer off line late on 11 October or early on Wednesday, traders said.

There was no immediate confirmation from the company.

The producer is expected to restart the reformer in about five to 10 days’ time, the traders added.

In addition, SKGC has shut its aromatics unit at the same site, which will result in an estimated loss of about 6,000-8,000 tonnes of toluene and about 10,000-15,000 tonnes of mixed xylenes, the traders said.

SKGC produces about 600,000 tonnes/year of benzene, 1m tonnes/year of toluene and 1.83m tonnes/year of mixed xylenes at the Ulsan-based complex, which comprises several reformers, toluene disproportionation (TDP) and pygas-based units.

The producer is running its downstream 405,000 tonne/year styrene monomer (SM) and 750,000 tonne/year paraxylene (PX) units at the same site “normally”, industry sources said.

However, SKGC has purchased at least 15,000 tonnes of PX for delivery in November between $1,585-1,600/tonne (€1,157-1,168/tonne) CFR (cost & freight) Taiwan and/or CMP (China Main Port), market sources said.

Bids for November shipments continue to be heard at $1,600/tonne CFR Taiwan and/or CMP, while offers were heard at $1,610/tonne CFR Taiwan and/or CMP this week.

Benzene prices in Asia are $20/tonne higher from the close of trade on 11 October at about $1,000-1,010/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea on Wednesday afternoon, according to ICIS.

Additional reporting by Bohan Loh and Clive Ong

($1 = €0.73)

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By: Mahua Chakravarty
+65 6780 4359

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