SINGAPORE Aug 15 Taiwan's Formosa Petrochemical Corp will shut a secondary unit for repairs and trim run rates at its 540,000 barrels per day (bpd) Mailiao refinery next month, its spokesman said on Friday.
The refinery, which is currently running at about 93 to 96 percent of capacity, has two residue fluid catalytic crackers (RFCCs) of 84,000-bpd capacity each.
It will shut one of the two RFCCs due to mechanical problems.
"The shutdown of the No. 1 RFCC will affect our gasoline supplies and we will have to adjust the refinery run rates because of excess feedstock for the gasoline unit," said the spokesman.
He added that no decision has been made on what the refinery's throughput will be in September as it has yet to assess what is the shutdown period of the RFCC.
"At the least, the RFCC will be down for a week but at most it will be two weeks," he said.
The other RFCC is currently running at about 95 percent of capacity.
The refiner has already sold around six gasoline cargoes of medium-range vessel size for September lifting as opposed to just two for August.
The shutdown of the RFCC is not expected to affect the lifting dates of the cargoes sold, traders said.
They added that they expect Formosa to lower its October gasoline exports compared to September but the reduction in volumes are not expected to be high given that the RFCC is not expected to be down for more than two weeks.
Separately, Formosa is in talks to buy spot naphtha for second-half September arrival despite the largest of its three naphtha crackers going on a 45-day maintenance starting Aug. 16.
This has led to talks that Asia's top naphtha importer is seeking naphtha because of the current attractive low prices and the impending production loss caused by the lower refinery runs next month. (Reporting by Seng Li Peng; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)