BEIJING/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China’s privately-run Zhejiang Petrochemical Corp is expected to start partial test operations at some units around end of this year and early 2019, but a full trial operation is only expected in the second quarter of next year, a company executive said.
“The company is planning to start trial runs at the crude unit and also some downstream units around end of the year and early in 2019,” said the Zhejiang-based executive, who declined to be named as he is not authorized to speak to press.
But a detailed plan on which units will be tested and the scale of test operations would depend on the market situation, the executive added.
The company, 51 percent owned by Rongsheng Holdings, is building a 400,000 barrels per day refinery which is integrated with a petrochemical complex led by a 1.2 million-tonne per year ethylene facility.
A Rongsheng spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.
The refinery, built on an island off the archipelago city of Zhoushan in east China, is configured to process medium sour crudes such as Saudi’s Arab Medium and Oman, as well as Latin American oil.
Saudi Aramco is also expected to supply up to 170,000 bpd of crude to Zhejiang Petrochemical and has signed an initial agreement to take a stake in the company.
Two separate industry sources said Rongsheng has bought a million barrels of Brazilian medium-sweet crude Lula for end-January arrival possibly for use in the test operation.
The company has imported several cargoes of Oman crude in the fourth quarter which are stored in Zhoushan.
The plant is aiming to start test operation at the ethylene unit also in the second quarter because of “smooth construction”, said the executive.
Reporting by Chen Aizhu and Meng Meng in BEIJING, and Florence Tan in SINGAPORE; Editing by Manolo Serapio Jr.