Petro Rabigh partially restarts ethylene unit

Rabigh Refining & Petrochemical Co. (Petro Rabigh), a joint venture of Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical Co., has initiated restart of the 1.6 million-tonnes/year ethane cracker at its refinery and chemicals complex in the port city of Rabigh on the Red Sea following a preventative shutdown of the unit in late June (OGJ Online, Oct. 22, 2012).

Petro Rabigh began restarting the cracker on July 14 after completing temporary repairs to damage in an associated turbine generator that led to the unit’s precautionary shutdown on June 21, the company said in a July 17 filing to the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul).

Full repair work on the unit, however, cannot be completed until the company receives a requisite new spare part from the manufacturer.

The unit’s unscheduled shutdown will negatively impact gross-profit margins for the second and third quarters of 2016 by about 350 million riyals ($93.3 million), Petro Rabigh said.

The company disclosed no details regarding either the current status of operations at the cracker or an estimated timeframe for its return to full production rates.

Earlier in the year, Petro Rabigh completed the Rabigh Phase 2 ethane cracker expansion, which lifted ethane gas processing capacity at the complex by 30 MMcfd to 125 MMcfd and raised ethylene production capacity to 1.6 million tonnes/year from a previous output of 1.3 million tpy (OGJ Online, Apr. 26, 2016).

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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