28 October 2011 20:53 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Polypropylene (PP) production by Chile’s domestic producer Petroquim may reach 90% of planned capacity this year because of shortages of feedstocks propylene and ethylene from local refiner Enap, a company manager said on Friday.
The shortages are usually caused by irregular deliveries of feedstocks by Enap, the only refiner in Chile, Petroquim’s commercial manager Alfonso Silva said.
Silva estimated that “with some luck, PP production in Chile this year will reach 90% of the planned production”.
The PP plant at BioBio, near Concepcion, has a nominal capacity of 120,000 tonnes/year.
Silva said the shortages are the result of the natural aging of the refinery installations and the fact that heavy crude is processed in the plant, further straining equipment and pipelines.
In recent weeks, PP production was lost in the south of Chile because of an electrical blackout that forced the Enap refinery, the Petroquim PP plant and the Dow Chemical polyethylene (PE) plant to stop for about a week.
Undisclosed technical problems at the Dow PE plant resulted in extra volumes of ethylene for Petroquim, but this was only an exceptional situation, the source said.
Frequent tremors and earthquakes in the region also contribute to wear and tear on the equipment, causing plant stoppages to assess structural integrity of the installations and safety conditions for the plant personnel.
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