Nippon Oil to start Marifu CDU maintenance Saturday

TOKYO, March 13 Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:52am EDT

TOKYO, March 13 (Reuters) - Nippon Oil Corp 5001.T, Japan's biggest refiner, said on Thursday it would begin scheduled maintenance of its Marifu crude distillation unit (CDU) from Saturday.

The shutdown of Nippon Oil's 127,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) CDU at its Marifu refinery in western Japan will mark Japan's first scheduled CDU maintenance this year, and other refiners are slated to follow.

Maintenance on the Marifu CDU is scheduled to last until April 24, adjusted slightly from the previously announced schedule of March 14 to April 26. (For a detailed schedule of refinery maintenance, click on [ID: nT182459])

The Exxon Mobil Japan group, led by TonenGeneral (5012.T), is expected to shut one of the CDUs at its Kawasaki plant from next week for maintenance.

Many refiners aim to complete maintenance by June ahead of the peak summer season. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori)