FocusAsia faces lighter cracker turnarounds in 2013-sources

23 November 2012 04:41  [Source: ICIS news]

By Felicia Loo & Helen Lee

Naphtha crackerSINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia will face a much lighter cracker turnaround next year, with around 2.82m tonnes/year of ethylene capacities to be taken off line, company and industry sources said on Friday.

The cracker maintenance may expand in response to potential unplanned shutdowns.

For 2012, around 13.24m tonne/year of ethylene capacities were shut in for maintenance, ICIS data indicated.

A lighter maintenance in 2013 will result in firmer spot naphtha demand as well as a stable-to-higher pool of ethylene supply, traders said. (please see table below)

“The outlook for next year is quite bearish because the polymers market is still bad,” said a South Korean end-user.

However, some other traders are upbeat about the prospects on naphtha demand.

“With a lower rate of maintenance, the end-users would need to buy more naphtha on a spot basis,” one trader said.

Cracker turnarounds in South Korea are at its minimum next year, with SK Energy shutting its 190,000 tonne/year Ulsan-based cracker for a month sometime between March and May, ICIS data showed.

However, the weak downstream market outlook next year prompted Sinopec to consider cracker operating rate adjustments or turnarounds next year, according to a company official.

“Next year’s downstream market sentiment is weak so we may have cracker turnarounds or adjust cracker operating rates but the schedule is not firmed up yet,” he said.

The Sinopec crackers are currently operating at full capacities with the exception of Beijing Eastern Petrochemical’s 160,000 tonne/year cracker at Beijing, which remained shut since 10 September because of poor economics, the official added.

Come August, Taiwan’s CPC will shut its 500,000 tonne/year No 5 Kaohsiung or its 385,000 tonne/year No 4 Linyuan crackers for turnaround after the start up of its new No 6 cracker.

In September, Formosa Petrochemical Corp (FPCC) will shut its 1.03m tonne/year No 2 cracker from mid-September to end-October.

The Japanese crackers are not scheduled for maintenance in 2013, an ICIS survey showed.

Year Company Location Capacity
2013 Shell Bukom, Singapore 800,000 No timeline 
March SK Energy Ulsan 1 190,000 One month TA for No 1 only.
Mar-May TBC.
August CPC  Kaohsiung or Linyuan 500,000/385,000  
Sept Formosa Petrochemical Corp Mailiao, Taiwan 1.03m
No 2 cracker 
Mid-Sept to end-Oct.
October Quenos Botany, NSW 300,000 TBC. Typically Q4.
2014 Asahi Kasei Mizushima, Japan             500,000                  Q2 2014.
2015 Idemitsu Kosan Chiba, Japan 374,000 Mar/Apr/May for one month to 45 days.
  Sumitomo Chemical  Chiba, Japan 415,000 Early Summer for one to 1.5 months.
  Titan Petrochemicals Pasir Gudang, Malaysia 285,000 or 435,000  
2016 JX Nippon Oil & Energy Kawasaki 460,000 Summer of 2016 for one month to 40 days.
  Idemitsu Kosan Tokuyama, Japan 623,000 Autumn of 2016 for 1 month to 45 days.
  Titan Petrochemicals Pasir Gudang, Malaysia 285,000 or 435,000  

Source: ICIS

($1 = €0.77 / $1 = CNY6.25)

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections

Author: Felicia Loo and Helen Lee

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