MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sumitomo plans to cease operations at its C2 cracker in Chiba during the next scheduled maintenance turnaround, said Plasteurope.
Faced with declining domestic demand and a structural market shift towards rising feedstock imports, Sumitomo Chemical (Tokyo / Japan) has said it will shut down its 415,000 t/y ethylene cracker in Chiba / Japan during the next scheduled maintenance turnaround in September 2015. The company said the current business environment in Japan is unlikely to change in the future, adding that the only way it can enhance and ensure the continued sustainable operations of its domestic petrochemical business is to curtail costs and raise its activities in the field of higher value-added products.
Sumitomo said it would source the ethylene it needs to run its operations in Japan from Keiyo Ethylene Co. (KEC; Ichihara, Chiba / Japan), its joint venture with Maruzen Petrochemical (Tokyo / Japan) and Mitsui Chemicals (Tokyo / Japan). Sumitomo said it had reached an agreement with the jv partners that its C2 allotment would be raised accordingly. Given that Mitsui recently announced plans to quit KEC, its higher requirements should not pose a problem.
Sumitomo said it would continue to look for ways to optimise its operations in Chiba, where it also turns out 210,000 t/y of propylene, 420,000 t/y of PP, 170,000 t/y of LDPE, 105,000 t/y of LLDPE, 60,000 t/y of toluene as well as 150,000 t/y of benzene. Taking a broader view, the company said it plans to work towards strengthening its entire global petrochemical portfolio, including in Saudi Arabia and Singapore.
Recently, Sumitomo Chemical confirmed that it is moving ahead in its joint venture with Saudi Aramco on the Rabigh Phase II Project at a total investment which is projected to reach around USD7 bln. The Rabigh II Project will produce ethylene propylene rubber (EPDM), thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO), methyl methacrylate (MMA) monomer, polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), low density polyethylene/ethylene vinyl acetate (LDPE/EVA), paraxylene/benzene, cumene and phenol/acetone, as MRC informed earlier. Incidentally, Sumitomo is the only Japanese petrochemical company to operate naphtha crackers outside Japan.
Sumitomo Chemical is a Japanese based manufacturer of a diverse range of products, including basic chemicals, petrochemicals and plastics, fine chemicals, agricultural chemicals, IT-related chemicals and pharmaceuticals.