Chinese producer SP Chemical has achieved on-specification ethylene production at its Taixing 700,000 t/yr LPG-based cracker.
The plant in east China's Jiangsu province produced on-specification ethylene last week, ahead of schedule by nearly a week from its original plan. Trial runs started earlier in August with the producer feeding in propane as the feedstock.
Production has still not stabilized, with SP Chemical declining to reveal the exact current operating rates at the cracker.
Spot ethylene offers to local customers are expected from SP Chemical from September as production should become stable in the coming weeks. The producer is also planning to feed a mix of ethane and propane in September, which should boost ethylene output as well as support production overall.
Its purchases of ethane from the US have been a challenge because of the continuing and escalating US-China trade war.
The new cracker is also able to produce 244,000 t/yr of propylene. Ethylene produced at the cracker will be used at its downstream 320,000 t/yr styrene monomer and 360,000 t/yr ethylene dichloride plants. Propylene produced at the new plant will be all for merchant sale.
Ethylene spot prices in China remained mostly weak for the second consecutive week with deals and discussions in a $880-910/t cfr range, down by $20/t from last week. Supplies in southeast Asia, South Korea and Taiwan continue to be tight.