Formosa Petrochemical Corp (FPCC, 台塑石化), Taiwan’s only publicly traded oil refiner, shut a residual processing unit in Mailiao (麥寮), Yunlin County, on Thursday to check for possible faulty piping.
The stoppage of the No. 1 residual desulfurization unit may last one to two weeks, spokesman Lin Keh-yen (林克彥) said by telephone yesterday.
The company has halted its No. 2 residual desulfurization unit since a fire on July 25. Each of the plants can process 80,500 barrels a day.
“We’ve stopped the unit for safety reasons,” he said.
Inspection of the No. 2 plant indicated the piping design of the units might be flawed, he said.
The company will seek to delay some shipments of diesel and gasoline because of the closure, he added.
Residual desulfurization units remove sulfur from residual fuel. Formosa Petrochemical’s Mailiao refinery has three crude distillation units, each able to process 180,000 barrels a day.
The company is using about a third of its crude refining capacity because of the stoppage of the residual processing units, Lin said.
Meanwhile, the company said it restarted a gasoline-making unit at Mailiao on Thursday that was shut on Aug. 18 because of a steam leak.
The No. 2 residual fluid catalytic cracker is operating at 70 percent of capacity, Lin said.
The refiner has two residual fluid catalytic crackers, each capable of processing 84,000 barrels of fuel a day. The units convert heavier refined products, such as residual fuel, into higher-value products, including gasoline. Formosa Petrochemical has the capacity to process 540,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
Formosa’s other residual fluid catalytic cracker is also running at 70 percent of capacity, Lin said.