Japan's Tosoh Plans $88M Naphtha Cracker Upgrade

Reuters, May 11, 2017

Japanese chemical maker Tosoh Corp said on Thursday it will invest about 10 billion yen ($88 million) to upgrade its 527,000 tonnes-per-year naphtha cracker in Yokkaichi, central Japan, by 2020. The move, which will include the installation of a new large-scale furnace to boost efficiency and cut costs, will allow the facility to make the same amount of ethylene from smaller volumes of feedstock naphtha, a company spokesman said. It marks the first large-scale investment on the cracker since 1998.

Japanese naphtha cracker operators have been trying to adjust to shrinking domestic demand market by closing some crackers and cutting costs. Idemitsu Kosan said in November it would expand the processing of propane at its naphtha cracker to take advantage of cheap liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices.

Tosoh plans to keep its naphtha import volumes at current levels. It will generate savings by expanding its gas turbine facilities and using the cracker's excess naphtha feedstock for in-house power generation, the spokesman said. Tosoh has 14 existing furnaces that process naphtha. The new large-scale furnace will replace two aging small furnaces that will be held in reserve, while the remaining furnaces will be renovated to improve efficiency, he said. Some of the work will likely be carried out during the cracker's large scale maintenance shutdowns in spring 2018 and spring 2020, he said.

($1 = 114.2700 yen)

(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Richard Pullin)


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