UPDATE 1-Japan's TonenGeneral considers cutting Chiba refinery capacity
* Examining cutting 23,000 bpd, or 13 pct, of Chiba
* Previously flagged cuts to come in March (Recasts, adds size of cuts under consideration)
TOKYO Feb 14 (Reuters) - Japanese oil refiner TonenGeneral Sekiyu KK is considering cutting capacity at its Chiba refinery by 13 percent, or 23,000 barrels per day (bpd), to meet government norms on improving efficiency.
The Japanese government imposed a law in 2010 requiring decades-old refineries to either scrap inefficient crude distillation units (CDUs) or invest in heavy residue cracking units by the end of March 2014 to better compete with Asian rivals.
TonenGeneral said on Friday it is examining cutting capacity of the sole 175,000 bpd CDU at Chiba. Japan's second-biggest refiner by capacity also said its previously flagged plans to scrap the 67,000 bpd No. 1 CDU at its Kawasaki refinery and the 38,000 bpd No. 2 CDU at its Wakayama refinery will come in March.
Industry sources had said the company would need to cut more capacity to meet requirements under the law.
TonenGeneral also plans to raise the capacity of its sole residue refining unit that processes low-priced heavy oil into lighter products such as gasoline, called a residue hydrocracking unit, to 34,500 bpd from 31,000 bpd in March. That unit is at the Kawasaki refinery.
The refining law comes as a falling population and a shift to less polluting vehicles has cut demand in Japan for everything from gasoline to petrochemicals used to make nappies, leading to surplus capacity at refiners, estimated at around 20 percent, or more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd), in 2010. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Joseph Radford and Muralikumar Anantharaman)
- Police hunt for motive as search for Malaysian jet spans hemispheres |
- Malaysian PM says lost airliner was diverted deliberately |
- Democrats seek ways to limit Obamacare fallout after Florida defeat
- Police make third arrest in murder of Colorado socialite
- Exclusive: Radar data suggests missing Malaysia plane deliberately flown way off course - sources