April 18, 2008 at 1:45 pm #3681
Sinopec shuts fuel unit at No.2 refinery after blast
<Note: Sinopec Maoming Refinery FCC & CDU S/D work is not on Asia T/A list by Dow Jones posted on the Refining news section – CER>
Reuters 4/18/08 – Maoming has closed a 16,000-bpd fluid catalytic cracker — a gasoline unit –for 45 days of routine maintenance from April 5. (Reporting by Jim Bai and Chua Baizhen in Singapore; editing by Ken Wills) – BEIJING, April 17 – Sinopec has shut a major fuel producing unit at its 270,000 barrel per day Maoming refinery after it was damaged by an explosion, an industry source familiar with operations said on Thursday.
Sinopec, Asia’s biggest refiner, may bring forward a planned overhaul of a crude unit as a result of shutting down the one million tonne per year hydrocracker, which primarily produces diesel and gasoline, the source told Reuters.
The explosion on Wednesday at a hydro-desulphurizer unit of Sinopec’s second-biggest refinery, which serves southwest China in Guangdong province, caused no casualties, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing a company official.
The report said it would not have an impact on normal oil product supply, although refiners are often forced to draw down inventories or buy extra fuel in order to maintain sales.
Separately, the industry source said that the hydrocracker was damaged and shut down following the explosion, which was likely caused by a leak in a pipeline to a heating furnace.
He added that Sinopec was likely to begin maintenance on a 100,000 bpd crude distillation unit ahead of the earlier planned the April 23 start date, curbing the month’s production rate by about 50,000 tonnes. The unit is due to be down for 24 days.
However, with China already having bought some 600,000 tonnes of diesel for May delivery, the third-highest ever after a surge above 800,000 tonnes in December and January, oil traders said the impact of the outage would likely be modest.
“Since the CDU was scheduled to go down anyway, the market should have accounted for it already,” said one Singapore-based trader.
“If anything, this will just reaffirm the idea that the gas oil market will stay strong. It’s not like they’re export-oriented. China just have to tweak their internal balances a little bit.”
The explosion had also forced a temporary shutdown of other facilities including a jet fuel unit that came back online on Thursday.
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