MOSCOW (MRC) -- Boiler work at the ExxonMobil-operated 830,000-metric tons/year ethylene plant at Mossmorran, UK, is scheduled for completion in June, reported Chemweek with reference to OPIS.
Two of the three boilers at the plant exploded in August 2019, resulting in the plant being taken offline until the end of February. OPIS sources say that the plant is currently able to operate at full capacity with two boilers in operation but that the third boiler will be working by June.
A source tells OPIS that the work planned at Mossmorran in the coming months will be more limited than previously scheduled. "It's mostly safety-critical work apart from the boiler work," says the source. "That's continuing because it's infrastructure- and safety-critical. You need three boilers because if one of the two boilers running goes down, you can turn the third one on. The plant has two (boilers) fully functioning and the third one is being finished for June."
The six-month spell that saw the ethylene unit out of action also meant that the neighboring 12,500-metric tons/day Shell natural gas liquids (NGL) plant supplying it with ethane was forced to flare the surplus product. OPIS revealed earlier this week that turnarounds at the two plants scheduled for July 2020 have been postponed to April 2021.
The Shell NGL plant is supplied by gas via a 220-kilometer pipeline from the Shell-operated St. Fergus gas plant and that will also see maintenance work in April next year, sources have told OPIS. St. Fergus has a gas intake capacity of 1,600 million standard cubic feet/day.
ExxonMobil declined to comment on the boiler work, and Shell and ExxonMobil did not wish to comment earlier this week when asked about plant turnaround postponements.
As MRC informed before, in September 2019, ExxonMobil announced plans to spend GBP140 million over the next two years in an additional investment program at its Fife ethylene plant, which has a capacity of more than 800,000 t/y.
Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 557,060 tonnes in the first three month of 2020, up by 7% year on year. High density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) shipments rose because of the increased capacity utilisation at ZapSibNeftekhim. Demand for LDPE subsided. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market was 267,630 tonnes in January-March 2020, down 20% year on year. Homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers accounted for the main decrease in imports.
ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3% of the world's oil and about 2% of the world's energy.