SINGAPORE Dec 28 ExxonMobil Corp has started up its 1 million tonnes per year steam cracker in Singapore, and ethylene and other hydrocarbon production is expected within a few months, a company executive said on Friday.
The cracker, initially slated to start a year ago, and associated downstream production makes the Jurong Island facility the company's largest refining and petrochemical complex.
The project also includes the production of at least 1.4 million tonnes per year (tpy) of derivative polyolefins and elastomers, all of which have started commercial operation.
"Our strategy was to commission the downstream units in 2012 and be ready before we start up the cracker. Once it runs, we want to ensure that we can consume all the molecules," Georges Grosliere, the venture executive and manufacturing director of the Singapore plant, said.
He added that depending on economics, Exxon has the capability to sell its excess ethylene to the market.
He expects long-term demand growth in the region to be healthy, although he said the market will feel a short-term impact as a number of new crackers start up.
"We've seen that with our first investment 12 years ago. We are optimistic about the mid- to long-term demand growth."