Petro Rabigh, Chemanol Restart Offline Units

Saudi refiner and petrochemicals producer Petro Rabigh and methanol manufacturer Chemanol have restarted production units whose shutdowns helped trim recent Q1 earnings (MEES, 25 April), while assessing the financial impact of the closures. Both firms also saw profits slide in 2013 (MEES, 24 January).

The Saudi Aramco/Sumitomo joint venture Petro Rabigh shut down its vacuum gasoil hydrotreater (VGO) on 27 March for catalyst replacement and took advantage of the halt to perform maintenance work on integrated units. Petro Rabigh restarted the VGO and linked units on 25 April and expects the shutdown to reduce gross margins for 2Q14 by SR170mn ($45mn).

Petro Rabigh plans to shut down its entire complex – which can deliver 18.4mn tons/year of petroleum products and 2.4mn t/y of ethylene and propylene derivatives – for an undisclosed period in 2015 for testing and inspection. This will be the plant’s second such shutdown since 2011, although the company says a five-year interval is typical for the industry. Petro Rabigh was hit last year by two utilities outages that necessitated repair and maintenance work on the 95mn cfd ethane cracker (MEES, 1 November 2013). (CONTINUED - 266 WORDS)