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Formosa Plastics USA restarts Texas cracker after 19-day outage: sources

Formosa Plastics USA began restarting the 1.2 million mt/year cracker at its Point Comfort, Texas, complex on June 23 and was expected to ramp up through the week, according to sources familiar with company operations.

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The OL3 cracker at Point Comfort was shut June 4 because of an upstream third-party pipeline issue.

A Formosa spokesman June 22 had said the unit would be undergoing start-up activities beginning June 23, according to market sources. The company could not be reached June 23 for confirmation of the startup, but sources familiar with company operations said the unit has been restarted.

The startup was initially expected after one week of downtime, but the timeline was extended to the week ending June 25.

Nan Ya Plastics, Formosa's sister company, shut its 800,000 mt/year monoethylene glycol plant at the Point Comfort site when Formosa shut the cracker, the largest of three at the complex, on a lack of sufficient ethylene feedstock. Nan Ya's smaller 370,000 mt/year MEG unit at Point Comfort had already been shut for a lengthy turnaround, but the Formosa cracker shutdown delayed its restart as well, according to a source familiar with Nan Ya's operations.

The MEG plants were slated to resume operations once Formosa ramps up the cracker, that source said.

A second source said that while there was not a huge amount of merchant ethylene available, there is enough that Formosa could have supplied the MEG plants with feedstock during the outage, had they been so inclined.

Nan Ya did not respond to a request for comment.