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Chinese cracker expansions enter new phase

July 28/2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Four large new crackers are poised to start operations in China in the next 3-6 months, in a sharp expansion of the country's petrochemical cracker sector, said Argusmadia.

State-controlled Sinochem today said it has commissioned the 3mn t/yr condensate unit at its Quanzhou complex in Fujian province. The key upstream facility produces naphtha for use as a cracker feedstock.

Sinochem conducted successful trial runs at cracker furnaces and a derivative 200,000/500,000 t/yr ethylene oxide/ethylene glycol (EO/EG) plant on 15-16 June.

Quanzhou's naphtha cracker Ч Sinochem's first cracker Ч was commissioned in December. The unit has 1mn t/yr of ethylene and 500,000 t/yr of propylene capacity.

Sinochem started construction of the cracker and a refinery expansion project at Quanzhou in October 2017. The project has a full stream of petrochemical derivative units, including 100,000 t/yr ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), 400,000 t/yr high density polyethylene (HDPE), 200,000/450,000 propylene oxide/styrene (PO/SM), 580,000 t/yr polypropylene (PP), 120,000 t/yr butadiene (BD), 100,000 t/yr MTBE, 350,000 t/yr BTX and 800,000 t/yr paraxylene (PX) capacity, as well as the 200,000/500,000 t/yr EO/EG unit.

The refinery expansion includes a residual fluid catalytic cracker (RFCC) with 230,000 t/yr of propylene capacity.

Fellow state-controlled firm Sinopec is also nearing a cracker start-up at its new Zhanjiang complex in Guangdong province. The cracker is likely to come on line in July-August, after Sinopec started operating the new 200,000 b/d Zhanjiang refinery on 16 June. The 40bn yuan ($5.6bn) project also includes an associated ethylene cracker complex.

The naphtha cracker has 800,000 t/yr of ethylene and 430,000 t/yr of propylene capacity and is integrated with 250,000/400,000 t/yr EO/EG, 350,000 t/yr HDPE, 100,000 t/yr EVA and 550,000 t/yr PP derivative units. The refinery also has a RFCC unit with 320,000 t/yr of propylene capacity.

Two private-sector Chinese firms are also making progress on cracker projects.

Refiner Bora Chemical is preparing to start its 1.1mn t/yr ethylene cracker project at Panjin in northeast Liaoning province. The company held successful trial runs at its downstream 450,000 t/yr linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) unit on 25 May and is now aiming to feed in the cracker in August-September.

The cracker will consume 1.65mn t/yr of naphtha and light products from Bora's 140,000 b/d Panjin refinery, as well as 1.1mn t/yr of propane and butane that will be bought from the market.

The complex has 450,000 t/yr LLDPE, 350,000 t/yr HDPE, 350,000 t/yr SM and 600,000 t/yr PP derivative capacity.

Global petrochemical firm LyondellBasell agreed in early March to take a 50pc stake in the project and set up a joint venture, Bora LyondellBasell, which will operate the ethylene cracker and associated polyolefin derivatives complex. The project has a total expected cost of about USD2.6bn.

Private-sector Wanhua Chemical is poised to commission its LPG-fed cracker at Yantai in Shandong province. It plans to start up the cracker around September-October this year.

The cracker, fed by 2.4mn t/yr of propane and butane, can produce 1mn t/yr of ethylene and 500,000 t/yr of propylene. Wanhua started construction work in 2017.

The cracker's petrochemical derivative facilities include a 350,000 t/yr HDPE unit, 450,000 t/yr LLDPE plant, 300,000/650,000 t/yr PO/SM plant, 150,000 t/yr EO unit, two 320,000 t/yr EDC plants, 300,000 t/yr PP unit and an 80,000 t/yr BD plant.

Wanhua Chemical owns China's single-largest capacity propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant at Yantai in Shandong province. The PDH unit has 750,000 t/yr of propylene capacity and fully integrated derivatives units. Wanhua is also the world's largest methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) manufacturer.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia dropped in January-June 2020 by 7% year on year to 328,000 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the main decrease in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia rose in the first six months of 2020 by 21% year on year to 105,300 tonnes. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.
Author:Anna Larionova
Tags:PP, PE, ethylene, propylene.
Category:General News
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