South Korean naphtha crackers shut for maintenance

(Reuters) – South Korea’s petrochemical operators have shut their naphtha crackers for maintenance in October, sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

LG Chem Ltd has shut its 1.16 million tonne naphtha cracker for maintenance scheduled to last until November, industry sources said.

“LG Chem began scheduled maintenance for its Yeosu cracker at the end of September and the maintenance is expected to last until November,” one of the sources told Reuters.

The planned maintenance normally lasts for about six to seven weeks, but given the current market the company will be taking a flexible approach for maintenance this time, the source added.

Asian refiners have been struggling with weak naphtha margins stemming from poor petrochemicals demand. The refining margin for naphtha in the region dropped to a discount of $29.60 a tonne on Monday against Brent crude oil.

LG Chem operates three naphtha crackers with total ethylene capacity of 3.3 million tonnes a year.

Another refiner, SK Energy, shut its SK Incheon Petrochem cracker for maintenance for the first time in three years on Sept. 23, the company said. The maintenance will last until Oct. 31.

SK Energy, the country’s largest refiner by capacity, is owned by SK Innovation Co Ltd.

SK Incheon Petrochem operates two crude distillate units (CDUs), including a 75,000 barrel per day (bpd) CDU and a 200,000 bpd CDU. The company has chemical processing capacity of 4.02 million tonnes per day.



Source: Reuters