SINGAPORE, May 9 (Reuters) - Japan’s Mitsui Chemicals is expected to restart its Ichihara naphtha cracker by May 12 following a glitch last week, five industry sources said on Thursday.
The unexpected shutdown of the firm’s 612,000 tonnes per year (tpy) cracker came as several other crackers in Japan and South Korea were either undergoing or about to start scheduled maintenance.
These include Hanwha Total Petrochemical’s 1 million tpy cracker, which has been shut since April and is not expected to resume operations until June.
Asia’s naphtha market has been persistently weak due to ample supplies.
The Asian naphtha crack for instance at $37.60 a tonne on Wednesday was the lowest since Feb. 14 this year.
The average naphtha crack between Jan. 2 and May 8 stood at about $46.40 a tonne, the weakest for the period since Reuters started tracking the data in 2008. The crack refers to the spread between prices for the product and feedstock crude oil. NAF-SIN-CRK
The industry sources declined to be identified. (Reporting by Seng Li Peng; Additional reporting by Yuka Obayashi in TOKYO; Editing by Joseph Radford)