Taiwan's FPCC crackers remain shut after 20 June power outage

21 June 2012 09:04  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Taiwan’s Formosa Petrochemical Corp (FPCC) has yet to restart its 1.03m tonne/year No 2 and its 1.2 m tonne/year No 3 crackers at its Mailiao complex following a power disruption earlier on 20 June, a company spokesperson said on Thursday.

A two hour-long suspension of electricity supply at around noon Taiwan time (04:00 GMT) on Wednesday forced about 95% of the plants at the complex to be shut, including downstream units belonging to various firms within the Formosa group, according to industry sources.

“We have not restarted them [the two crackers] yet as we are still doing checks on all the equipment,” the spokesperson said, adding that timeline for a restart for the No 2 and No 3 crackers have yet to be fixed.

FPCC shut its other 700,000 tonne/year No 1 cracker in Mailiao a day earlier than scheduled on 19 June for a turnaround.

The company’s 540,000 bbl/day refinery was also unaffected by the power outage, and is running normally, according to the FPCC spokesperson.

The refinery houses three CDUS each with a capacity of 180,000 bbl/day.

FPCC’s acrylonitrile units at the complex were not shut by the outage on Wednesday but the firm is keeping an eye on the inventory levels of propylene feedstock as upstream olefins plants were affected by the power disruption, a company source said.

The upstream olefins units were still shut on Thursday but were expected to be restarted in the next few days, she said.

FPCC’s sulphur production at the site was also not seriously affected by the power outage, the source added. The firm can produce 30,000 tonnes/month of sulphur from its two desulphuriser units at Mailiao.

The Port of Mailiao – shut earlier on 20 June because of Tropical Storm Talim - has been reopened, but the loading of a 15,000 tonne sulphur cargo sold under Formosa's 23 May sales tender has been postponed to 21 June or later, the FPCC source added.

Meanwhile, Formosa Plastic’s 350,000 tonne/year high density polyethylene (HDPE) unit, 264,000 tonne/year linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) plant and 240,000 tonne/year density polyethylene/ethylene vinyl acetate (LDPE/EVA) swing plant at the same site were unlikely to restart on Thursday, according to a company official.

“The situation is unclear and we are still waiting for notification from the cracker and utilities units,” the official said, adding that those units may be facing “some problems” which he could not clarify.

“It is not looking positive today [Thursday],” he added.

Formosa Chemical and Fibre Corp (FCFC), meanwhile, has kept its 550,000 tonne/year No 2 PTA unit at Mailiao shut and has brought forward a minor turnaround that was initially set for July, a company source said.

The shutdown at the No 2 plant will last for four days, the source said.

FCFC, meanwhile, restarted its 550,000 tonne/year No 1 PTA plant at Mailiao in the late afternoon on 20 June after the power glitch, but it will take another day for the plant to ramp up to full capacity, the source said.

Meanwhile, Nan Ya Plastics is in the process of restarting its three 360,000 tonne/year monoethylene glycol (MEG) units at Mailiao, with production loss estimated at around 6,000 tonnes, according to a accompany source.

Nan Ya’s 720,000 tonne/year No 4 MEG plant at Mailiao is currently undergoing a turnaround which began on 4 June. The unit is expected to be restarted on 10 July.

With additional reporting by Gabriela Wheeler, Helen Lee, Becky Zhang, Ong Sheau Ling and Peh Soo Hwee

By: Nurluqman Suratman

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