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Shell runs Singapore ethylene unit at 70pct capacity

May 13/2010

(Yarns and Fibers) -- Royal Dutch Shell's new Singapore ethylene cracker is operating at around 70 percent of capacity and is using some 30,000 tonnes a month or more of naphtha as feedstock, traders said on Wednesday.


The unit will run at more than 80 percent of capacity soon, they added. The naphtha volumes used at Shell is not huge, but it has pushed up market sentiment as the 800,000 tonne-per-year (tpy) cracker was designed to use mainly heavy oil as feedstock. It is coming a time when Thailand also needs additional naphtha feedstocks for the country's petrochemical facilities.


Shell has recently been aggressively picking up Indian spot naphtha cargoes -- almost 715,000 tonnes for March to June loadings -- leading to talk that this could be due to its use of the light fuel for the petrochemical plant. But some traders said this has more to do with its trading positions.


The oil major hardly bought any spot volumes from India for January or February loadings. But they have a three-month term contract with Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) for 30,000 tonnes each for December-February lifting from New Mangalore port.


Japanese trading house Itochu has often been the dominant buyer of Indian spot cargoes, as it has limited term Middle Eastern supplies, traders said.But Shell overtook Itochu as the leading buyer of Indian cargoes for April-loading cargoes, snapping up nearly 300,000 tonnes compared to the 100,000 tonnes it bought for March loading from India.


Shell, which dropped a 12-month contract with Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) for December-November due to high prices, had bought around 185,000 tonnes of Indian naphtha for May.

Shell runs Singapore ethylene unit at 70pct capacity




















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