Petrotahlil - Chinese state-controlled oil and petrochemical giant Sinopec is on track to bring on line a naphtha cracker in south China's Guangdong province in early September, following the start-up of its 200,000 b/d Zhanjiang plant.
The company opened its Zhanjiang plant on 16 June and successfully started up a 4.2mn t/yr residual fluid catalytic cracker (RFCC) on 24 July. The RFCC can produce more than 300,000 t/yr of propylene at capacity.
The naphtha cracker, which is set to come on line on 8 September, has a nameplate capacity of 800,000 t/yr for ethylene and 400,000 t/yr for propylene, along with integrated downstream units. It will be Sinopec's 18th steam cracker, taking into account joint-venture cracker projects, and first in seven years since the start-up Sinopec SK-Wuhan Petrochemical in central China's Hubei province in February 2013. The cracker is part of Sinopec Zhanjiang's integrated refinery and petrochemical project, costing 44bn yuan ($6.3bn).
The project also has a 350,000 t/yr polypropylene (PP) unit, which came on line on 18 August and runs on propylene from domestic sources. Sinopec Zhanjiang then began test runs at two other derivative units — a 200,000 t/yr PP line and a 350,000 t/yr high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plant — on 24 August.
Its remaining downstream units, which include a 250,000/400,000 t/yr ethylene oxide line, a 100,000 t/yr ethylene vinyl acetate plant and a 200,000 t/yr MTBE facility, will be put into operations after the cracker comes on line. This new cracker will raise Sinopec's ethylene capacity to 11.6mn t/yr, accounting for 53pc of China's total ethylene cracker capacity.
The Zhanjiang complex will not have a surplus or shortfall of ethylene supplies but will have a net length of close to 200,000 t/yr of propylene. This propylene balance will be offered to domestic markets in south China.
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Source : Argus