Petrochemicals: News in brief

30 January 2012 00:00  [Source: ICB]

REPSOL RESTARTS SINES CRACKER
Spanish oil and gas firm Repsol's cracker at Sines, Portugal, was due to resume operations on January 23. The Sines cracker was temporarily idled last month because of low demand: it is the only one of Repsol's crackers that is not fully integrated with derivative production. Meanwhile, Repsol's fluid catalytic cracker unit in Bilbao, Spain, is expected to resume operations by the end of January, followed by the restart of the refinery, which is likely in the first quarter.

JAPANESE PLANTS LESS COMPETITIVE - ANALYST
Petrochemical plants in Japan are showing signs of becoming less competitive internationally, an analyst with global investment bank Jefferies said. "Manufacturers [customers of Japanese chemical makers] are moving away from Japan to avoid negative FX [foreign exchange] impact," the analyst said. Also, the appreciation of the yen is causing fixed costs of Japanese plants to get relatively heavier. "We expect investors will start to consider the potential shutdown of naphtha crackers later this year," the analyst's research note said.

NEW FURNACE FOR BASF FINA IN PORT ARTHUR
US-based BASF Fina Petrochemicals has awarded a contract for the construction of an ethylene furnace at its Port Arthur cracker in Texas to Selas Fluid, a subsidiary of Germany's Linde.The furnace will have the flexibility to crack ethane, naphtha and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) feedstock. Selas will be responsible for engineering, procurement and construction. Selas said projects like these typically take about two years to complete. The cost of the project was not disclosed and the companies did not say by how much capacity would increase.


By: Elaine Burridge
+44 20 8652 3214



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