MOSCOW (MRC) -- Taiwan's Formosa Petrochemical Corp plans to ramp up operating rates at its refinery in May to 74% once it restarts a gasoline-making unit after maintenance and as refining margins have improved, reported Reuters with reference to the company's spokesman.
Formosa intends to process 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude in May, or 74% of its total capacity, up from 340,000 bpd in March and April, spokesman KY Lin told Reuters.
The higher utilisation rate comes as Asian gasoline refining margins have returned to pre-COVID-19 levels. Formosa is among the largest oil products exporters in Asia and a ramp-up in its output is expected to lead to more exports.
Formosa's refinery has been operating at about 60% between February and April due to maintenance, while its No.2 residue desulfurizer unit is undergoing repairs following a fire in July.
Formosa operates three crude distillation units with a capacity of 180,000 bpd each at its complex in Mailiao.
As MRC wrote earlier, Formosa Plastics Company (FPC), part of Formosa Petrochemical, is in plans to take off-stream its No. 1 cracker in Mailiao, Taiwan for a scheduled turnaround on 8 June, 2021. This cracker with an annual capacity of 700,000 tons of ethylene and 350,000 tons of propylene is expected to remain shut unitl mid-July, 2021.
Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 576,270 tonnes in the first three month of 2021, up by 4% year on year. Low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) shipments increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market totalled 410,890 tonnes in January-March 2021, up by 56% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers 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).