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Sinopec shuts Shanghai CDU for 3-mth retooling
BEIJING, Aug 20, 2007 (Reuters) –
Sinopec Corp’s Gaoqiao refinery shut its main crude unit earlier on Monday for a planned three-month retooling, in line with an earlier schedule, an industry official told Reuters.
The shutdown at a 160,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) facility may prompt the top refiner to cut exports or raise imports of refined fuels to replenish stocks, as production at the Shanghai-based plant is due to drop nearly 70 percent over the period.
After the retooling, which involves new crude furnaces made of anti-corrosion materials, the refinery will be able to process more high-sulphur, normally cheaper, crude oil.
Gaoqiao has a separate crude unit of 70,000 bpd which will remain operational throughout the retooling but at only about 85 percent capacity, said the official familiar with the plant’s operations. “It’s an old unit, difficult to pump at full (capacity).”
The refinery, a key fuel supplier to the financial hub of Shanghai, is part of the latest batch of Chinese plants upgraded to suit sour crudes, mostly from the Middle East, which now make up some 45 percent of China’s crude oil imports. Gaoqiao is also adding a delayed coker and sulphur recovery unit, both of which should be operational at the end of November when the crude unit completes revamping works.