October 3, 2019 / 5:27 AM / 20 days ago

Taiwan's Formosa to operate refinery at near 70% due to maintenance

* Formosa to reduce refinery throughput in Oct vs Sept

* Gasoline production equivalent to 2 MRs could be hit

* Residue desulphurizer in maintenance mode since Oct 1

By Seng Li Peng

SINGAPORE, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Taiwan’s Formosa Petrochemical Corp aims to lower its October average run rate at the 540,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) Mailiao refinery to about 70% from more than 87% last month due to maintenance, its spokesman said on Thursday.

Formosa, Asia’s sixth-largest standalone refinery by capacity, has taken an 80,000-bpd residue desulphurizer down for a planned maintenance since Tuesday.

Throughput at the crude units has to be adjusted down accordingly from this week, said the spokesman, adding that this would also affect its gasoline production as less fuel oil feedstock would be available for making petrol.

He estimated that the amount of petrol that would be lost during the maintenance could be equivalent to two medium-range tankers.

Formosa’s lower production run is coming at a time when demand for oil products is strong.

An attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities on Sept. 14 had disrupted the Kingdom’s production and prompted Aramco to source fuel, including naphtha, gasoline and diesel, from various outlets to plug the gap.

This pushed the overall Asian average monthly refining margin in September to a two-year high of more than $7.50 a barrel. DUB-SIN-REF (Reporting by Seng Li Peng; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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