ExxonMobil eyes on-spec ops at Singapore cracker in few months

28 December 2012 22:00  [Source: ICIS news]

ExxonMobil eyes on-spec ops at Singapore cracker in few monthsSINGAPORE (ICIS)--ExxonMobil's new 1m tonne/year cracker in Singapore is currently in the commissioning phase with on-spec production expected to begin in the next few months, a senior company executive at the energy major said on Friday.

“The start-up teams are now on the field checking [the] equipment… it’s a matter of months now,” said Georges Grosliere, ExxonMobil's Singapore chemical plant manufacturing director and Singapore parallel train venture executive.

The company has yet to introduce any hydrocarbon feed into the cracker, he told reporters.

The new cracker is part of the energy giant’s second petrochemical project in the city-state which will add 2.6m tonnes/year of new finished product capacity.

It features new oxo-alcohol and transalkylation units, two 650,000 tonnes/year polyethylene (PE) units as well as a 450,000 tonne/year polypropylene (PP) plant.

The project also includes a new 300,000 tonne/year metallocene elastomers unit and an aromatics extraction unit that can produce 340,000 tonnes/year of benzene.

It will also boost the company’s paraxylene (PX) output at the site by 80,000 tonnes/year.

The expansion project marks the first production by ExxonMobil of its proprietary specialty elastomers and mellocene-based PE in the Asia Pacific region.

“All the downstream plants have been successfully started up,” Grosliere said.

A 220-megawatt co-generation plant that used to supply the electricity and stream needs of the petrochemical complex has also started up, according to Grosliere.

ExxonMobil operates two aromatics lines in Singapore - the Jurong Aromatics Plant (JAR) that produces 300,000 tonnes/year of benzene; 180,000 tonnes/year of toluene; and 400,000 tonnes/year of PX; and, the Singapore Aromatics Recovery (SAR) that can produce 190,000 tonnes/year of benzene and 420,000 tonnes/year of PX.

The additional output from the expansion project will continue to mostly serve the growing Asian chemicals market, with China being the primary destination, he added.

Over the next decade, global commodity petrochemical demand is expected to grow by 1.5 percentage points more than the global GDP growth, according to an ExxonMobil spokesperson.

By 2020, global commodity chemical demand is projected to grow by more than 50%, driven by improving growth in developing countries, she said.

Two-thirds of chemical demand growth through 2020 is expected to come from the Asia Pacific region, driven by the rising standard of living in developing countries, the spokesperson added.

By: Nurluqman Suratman

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