Idemitsu Kosan Co. has decided to upgrade the 45,000 bpd FCC (fluid catalytic cracking) unit at its 220,000 bpd Chiba refinery east of Tokyo by 2011 spending 16 bln Yen. In the face of declining market rates for its fuel oil, the Idemitsu Kosan aims to increase naphtha and propylene output by 260,000 kl pa, while decreasing production of heavy fuel oil by 200,000 kl pa post-up grading.
Idemitsu Kosan Co. last year voiced its plan to triple its capacity to export refined products at Chiba and at its 160,000 bpd Aichi refinery. By reforming pipelines and revamping switching pumps, the company wishes to increase the combined exports for jet fuel, gasoil, and gasoline, from current capacity of 1 mln kl per year to 3 mln kl per year. After revamping the Chiba and Aichi facilities, Idemitsu Kosan plans to expand the export capacity of its 140,000 bpd Hokkaido refinery and 120,000 bpd Tokuyama refinery.
The Chiba was running at nearly full capacity in May with high stockpiles, and made its first spot sale in 3 years of 30,000 tons of heavy grade fuel oil. This unusual export multiplied pressures on an Asian market that was well supplied due to deficient Chinese demand.