The main cracker of ExxonMobil's US$5-6 billion second petrochemical complex on Jurong Island is now expected to be ready only by this year-end, Shaw Group, the US engineering company building the upstream plant, indicated this week.
Disclosing this at an earnings call with analysts following the release of its Q3 results on Tuesday, Shaw Group's chairman and CEO, James Bernhard, said that "hopefully towards the end of the year, it'll be signed off and out of the door. We continue to work jointly with ExxonMobil on the project in completion and start up."
He said this in response to a question on the status of the ethylene plant, and whether it was still at 98 per cent completion stage.
Shaw Group, the ethylene cracker's main contractor, had earlier reported millions of dollars in cost overruns with the Singapore project, with the figure up to last November running up to over US$112 million due to subcontractor cost increases and schedule delays.
The one million tonnes per annum ethylene cracker is the heart of ExxonMobil's new complex, tagged Singapore Parallel Train (SPT), so-called as it is being built alongside its first petrochemical complex.
SPT, comprising six downstream plants and its own cogeneration plant to provide utilities, was originally scheduled to start up in the second half of 2011, but construction issues, especially relating to the main cracker, had caused a one-year delay in this timeline to H2, 2012.
Given the latest Shaw update, the complex now looks set to be fully operational only towards year-end.
While ExxonMobil has already started up some of the completed downstream plants at SPT, Georges Grosliere, ExxonMobil Chemical's venture executive, earlier told BT that the main cracker plant "will be the last to be completed, on purpose".
The delay in the entire SPT complex is "because of the scale and complexity of the investment", he stressed.
In an earlier update in March this year, an ExxonMobil spokesman had told BT that "the (SPT) project is 98 per cent mechanically complete, and units have been progressively starting up, with product qualifications underway".
"In January, we reached the milestone of producing our first metallocene polymer in Asia," the spokesman added, referring to the start-up of the first downstream units at SPT. "We anticipate that commissioning and start-up activities will continue through 2012."
Separately, Reuters citing sources, reported on Tuesday that a damaged boiler at ExxonMobil's petrochemical complex on Jurong Island last week had delayed loading of some paraxylene products, although production was now back to normal after repairs.
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