MOSCOW (MRC) -- Taiwan’s Formosa Petrochemical Corp has shut a residue desulphurises (RDS) unit at its 540,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) Mailiao refinery after it was hit by a fire early on Wednesday, reported Reuters with reference to three sources close to the matter.
Mailiao is one of Asia’s 10 largest standalone refining plants. The sources said its no. 2 RDS, with a capacity of 80,000 bpd, had been affected by the fire.
Formosa spokesmen could not immediately be reached for comment.
Trade sources said the outage would hit output of low-sulphur residual fuels used either in blending, to make very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) for bunkering, or fed into other secondary units for gasoline or gasoil production.
Formosa cut VLSFO exports this month as it stepped up production of gasoline and gasoil on improving margins, while VLSFO profits weakened, the sources added.
The unit had been restarted in May after completing maintenance.
The company also operates three crackers in Mailiao with a combined 2.935m tonne/year capacity, which are operating normally, market sources said.
As MRC informed earlier, Formosa Petrochemical plans to shut down its No.3 cracker in Taiwan for maintenance in mid-August, 2020. The 1.2-MMt/y No. 3 cracker is due to be offline until end-September.
Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 595,170 tonnes in the first five month of 2020, up by 10% year on year. Deliveries of all ethylene polymers, except for linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), rose partially because of an increase in capacity utilisation at ZapSibNeftekhim. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market was 457,930 tonnes in January-May 2020 (calculated by the formula production minus export plus import). Deliveris of exclusively PP random copolymer increased.
Formosa Petrochemical is involved primarily in the business of refining crude oil, selling refined petroleum products and producing and selling olefins (including ethylene, propylene, butadiene and BTX) from its naphtha cracking operations. Formosa Petrochemical is also the largest olefins producer in Taiwan and its olefins products are mostly sold to companies within the Formosa Group. Among the company's chemical products are paraxylene (PX), phenyl ethylene, acetone and pure terephthalic acid (PTA). The company"s plastic products include acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) resins, polystyrene (PS), polypropylene (PP) and panlite (PC).