PTTGC cracker output to fall by 15% on gas separation unit outage

19 August 2013 12:01 Source:ICIS News

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Thailand’s PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) expects at least a 15% decline in production at its crackers in Map Ta Phut because of feedstock shortage following an unexpected shutdown at a gas separation unit at the site, a company official said on Monday.

Gas separation unit No 5, which is operated by PTTGC's parent firm PTT, was shut on 14 August because of a lightning strike and is expected to be off line for three to five months.

“We may reduce the cracker operating rates by 15% or higher but the exact operating rates are not clear yet because we need to manage the LPG [liquefied petroleum gas] supply,” the official said.

PTTGC has three gas crackers at the site with a combined nameplate ethylene capacity of 1.86m tonnes/year.

Operating rates at the crackers had been adjusted down last week, but the exact run rates are not yet clear, the official said. The crackers were previously running at full capacity.

Discussions are ongoing with PTT on feedstock supply, the PTTGC official said.

PTTGC's fourth cracker – I-4 No 1, which mostly feeds on naphtha – in Map Ta Phut is currently undergoing a 44-day turnaround since 1 August, the official said. The cracker has a 515,000 tonne/year capacity.

By Helen Lee