Ten months into its building, Jurong Aromatics Corporation's US$2.4 billion aromatics complex on Jurong Island "is slightly ahead of schedule, with completion expected in the first half of 2014 and start-up in July/August that year," says its new CEO, Simon Lam.
JAC has also started exploring the possibility of a project expansion, he told BT yesterday, adding that "we are already talking about it, and we intend to do it".
But he stressed that "the priority right now is to finish the initial project on budget and on schedule. We don't expect to carry out any detailed study for the expansion for the next one year."
Mr Lam, previously Shell Singapore chairman and manufacturing director of Shell Eastern Petroleum here, brings a wealth of refinery/petrochemicals experience to the JAC project, which is being developed by independent oil traders.
He was in charge of developing two of the oil giant's mega petrochemical complexes in this region, including the US$4.1 billion project in Nanhai, China and the recently-completed US$3 billion Shell Eastern Petrochemical Complex here.
On his joining JAC, Mr Lam said that he was approached by JAC's promoters, including South Korea's SK Energy and ChemOne Holdings, some three months ago to take up the job, after previous JAC CEO, Mehdi Adib retired.
JAC's complex - coming up alongside the Shell, ExxonMobil and Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore petrochemical complexes here - includes a 100,000-110,000 barrels per day condensate splitter, which is essentially a refinery which processes natural gas condensates instead of crude oil. It will supply the complex with its necessary raw materials.
When it starts up in the third quarter of 2014, the JAC complex will produce 1.5 million tonnes per annum of aromatics like paraxylene and benzene, and 2.5 million tpa of transport fuels including jet fuel, ultra-low sulphur diesel and fuel oil.
It has already started recruiting engineers and operators in the last few months. Earlier reports said that JAC expects to employ some 240 to 290 people at the plant and head office.
The complex's viability is assured as JAC's stakeholders are also buyers of its products, officials earlier said.
The stakeholders include BP Singapore - which has a US$10 billion-plus deal with JAC to supply feedstock and also take some of JAC's end-products - SK Energy (which has a 30 per cent JAC stake) and Swiss commodity giant Glencore (10 per cent). Another shareholder, Chinese polyester producer Jiangsu Sanfangxiang (with 25 per cent) is also a potential customer.
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