China Sinochem's Quanzhou petchem project start delayed to late-August

BEIJING/SINGAPORE, July 13 (Reuters) - China Sinochem Group’s Quanzhou 32.5 billion yuan ($4.64 billion) petrochemical expansion project is aiming to start trial operations in late August, the company said, later than the May-June time-scale previously expected.

The state-backed oil and chemical group is adding 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude processing capacity at an existing 240,000 bpd refinery in Fujian province, as well as 1 million tonnes ethylene and 800,000 tonnes aromatic capacity per annum.

“There are less than 100 days until the trial production of ethylene units on August 30. Workers are striving to catch up with the deadline while meeting quality requirements,” a statement from Sinochem Quanzhou refinery on its Wechat said on Monday.

Reuters reported in January, citing sources, that the Quanzhou project was expected to start in mid-2020.

Sinochem did not give reasons for the delay in its statement on Monday.

But Sinopec Group, whose engineering subsidiary was in charge of the construction of the Quanzhou project, said in late June the work had faced delays of as much as six months.

It cited “a tight schedule, overwhelming tasks and delays of drawings as well as arrivals of equipment”.

Construction at the Quanzhou expansion project began in September 2018.

Last month, Sinopec Corp started a new refinery, comprising a 200,000 bpd crude oil refining unit and 800,000 tonnes ethylene facility, in the neighbouring province Guangdong. ($1 = 7.0017 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Muyu Xu and Chen Aizhu; editing by Barbara Lewis)