Saudi to slash naphtha term volumes to Asia

18-May-09
A maintenance shutdown at Saudi Aramco’s hydrocracker has led to supply constraints and reduced exports from the producer. Supply problems have been compounded by rising domestic demand. In a bid to cope with limited supplies, Asia’s top term supplier of naphtha plans to reduce volumes of A180 light and A310 naphtha grades from Ras Tanura in its H2-09 contracts as compared to the same period last year. Typically, exports total to 1.6 mln tpa of A180 and 1.8 mln tpa of A310. The 44,000 bpd hydrocracker at Ras Tanura has been shut due to an outage since March, and it is unclear if the plant has resumed production. Output of A310-grade was cut back due to the hydrocracker outage, while production of A180-grade was restricted by lower run rates at the 500,000-bpd Ras Tanura refinery. A310 exports are not expected to resume until June. Saudi Aramco also needs to redirect A180 to Jubail Chevron Phillips Co’s styrene facility, which started operations in H1-8, limiting term export volumes.
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