Formosa Petrochemical Corp. has planned to shut a 180,000 bpd crude distillation unit (CDU) and two secondary units for planned maintenance at its 540,000 bpd refinery in Taiwan from December, as per Reuters. The maintenance at CDU No. 2, a vacuum distillation unit (VDU) of 80,000 bpd capacity and a 52,000 bpd VGO hydrotreating unit, will last for 40 days from the start of December. Asia’s top oil consumers China and Japan use gas oil and kerosene as heating fuel for winter. Since December is the peak demand season for fuel, this shutdown could exert some pressure on gas oil and kerosene stocks.
Formosa had restarted a third CDU at its refinery early September after the refinery was shut for safety reasons following a fire in end-July at a secondary unit that damaged some infrastructure, including power cables. Formosa has also restarted the second of two residual fluid catalytic crackers (RFCC) this week after a prolonged shutdown since the end-July fire. Both RFCCs of 84,000 bpd, each, will be running at 70% capacity, with priority to allocate gasoline cargoes to term customers first. Spot exports will be decided on a later basis. Restart of the RFCC this week helped eased some of the concerns over gasoline supplies as Shell had shut its 500,000 bpd Singapore plant last week due to a fire. The refinery is currently running at 400,000-420,000 bpd and will maintain the current run rate.