The Urethane Blog

Chinese Crackers

Chinese cracker expansions enter new phase
July 28/2020
MOSCOW (MRC) — Four large new crackers are poised to start operations in China in the next 3-6 months, in a sharp expansion of the country’s petrochemical cracker sector, said Argusmadia.

State-controlled Sinochem today said it has commissioned the 3mn t/yr condensate unit at its Quanzhou complex in Fujian province. The key upstream facility produces naphtha for use as a cracker feedstock.

Sinochem conducted successful trial runs at cracker furnaces and a derivative 200,000/500,000 t/yr ethylene oxide/ethylene glycol (EO/EG) plant on 15-16 June.

Quanzhou’s naphtha cracker — Sinochem’s first cracker — was commissioned in December. The unit has 1mn t/yr of ethylene and 500,000 t/yr of propylene capacity.

Sinochem started construction of the cracker and a refinery expansion project at Quanzhou in October 2017. The project has a full stream of petrochemical derivative units, including 100,000 t/yr ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), 400,000 t/yr high density polyethylene (HDPE), 200,000/450,000 propylene oxide/styrene (PO/SM), 580,000 t/yr polypropylene (PP), 120,000 t/yr butadiene (BD), 100,000 t/yr MTBE, 350,000 t/yr BTX and 800,000 t/yr paraxylene (PX) capacity, as well as the 200,000/500,000 t/yr EO/EG unit.

The refinery expansion includes a residual fluid catalytic cracker (RFCC) with 230,000 t/yr of propylene capacity.

Fellow state-controlled firm Sinopec is also nearing a cracker start-up at its new Zhanjiang complex in Guangdong province. The cracker is likely to come on line in July-August, after Sinopec started operating the new 200,000 b/d Zhanjiang refinery on 16 June. The 40bn yuan ($5.6bn) project also includes an associated ethylene cracker complex.

The naphtha cracker has 800,000 t/yr of ethylene and 430,000 t/yr of propylene capacity and is integrated with 250,000/400,000 t/yr EO/EG, 350,000 t/yr HDPE, 100,000 t/yr EVA and 550,000 t/yr PP derivative units. The refinery also has a RFCC unit with 320,000 t/yr of propylene capacity.

Two private-sector Chinese firms are also making progress on cracker projects.

Refiner Bora Chemical is preparing to start its 1.1mn t/yr ethylene cracker project at Panjin in northeast Liaoning province. The company held successful trial runs at its downstream 450,000 t/yr linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) unit on 25 May and is now aiming to feed in the cracker in August-September. The cracker will consume 1.65mn t/yr of naphtha and light products from Bora’s 140,000 b/d Panjin refinery, as well as 1.1mn t/yr of propane and butane that will be bought from the market. The complex has 450,000 t/yr LLDPE, 350,000 t/yr HDPE, 350,000 t/yr SM and 600,000 t/yr PP derivative capacity. Global petrochemical firm LyondellBasell agreed in early March to take a 50pc stake in the project and set up a joint venture, Bora LyondellBasell, which will operate the ethylene cracker and associated polyolefin derivatives complex. The project has a total expected cost of about USD2.6bn.

Private-sector Wanhua Chemical is poised to commission its LPG-fed cracker at Yantai in Shandong province. It plans to start up the cracker around September-October this year.

The cracker, fed by 2.4mn t/yr of propane and butane, can produce 1mn t/yr of ethylene and 500,000 t/yr of propylene. Wanhua started construction work in 2017.

The cracker’s petrochemical derivative facilities include a 350,000 t/yr HDPE unit, 450,000 t/yr LLDPE plant, 300,000/650,000 t/yr PO/SM plant, 150,000 t/yr EO unit, two 320,000 t/yr EDC plants, 300,000 t/yr PP unit and an 80,000 t/yr BD plant.

Wanhua Chemical owns China’s single-largest capacity propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant at Yantai in Shandong province. The PDH unit has 750,000 t/yr of propylene capacity and fully integrated derivatives units. Wanhua is also the world’s largest methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) manufacturer.