Operating issues emerge at polyolefin plants in Asia

05-Aug-10
Operating issues are emerging at polyolefin plants in Asia, amid recovering polyolefin markets, as per ICIS. ExxonMobil’s 600,000 tpa polyethylene (PE) plant in Singapore has been shut for two weeks due to undisclosed problems. The PE plant had faced problems in early July when it was shut down for about a week. Shell Chemical's 800,000 tpa cracker in Singapore has been shut this week for a day or two. Formosa Petrochemical plans a 30% reduction in run rates at its PE plants in August and September due to shortage of ethylene. Ethylene supply has also been affected as it’s No1 cracker that has been shut after a fire in early July. The company has a 350,000 tpa high density PE (HDPE) plant, a 264,000 tpa linear low density PE (LLDPE) unit and a 240,000 tpa low density PE/ethylene vinyl acetate (LDPE/EVA) swing plant. A planned shutdown at its No2 cracker has now been deferred from late August to end-September or early October. But the company also indicated that the operating rate cut could extend to October. Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp (FCFC) is likely to cut production at its 450,000 tpar polypropylene (PP) plant as Formosa Petrochemical will not be able to supply full volumes of propylene. Formosa Petrochemical has yet to restart an olefins conversion unit (OCU) and two residual fluid catalytic crackers (RFCC) after a fire at its refinery last month. Formosa Plastics Corp (FPC) may face a similar situation at its 350,000 tpa PP plant. The new round of operating problems is likely to create room for producers to push through more price hikes.
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