CPC’s Kaohsiung oil refinery now officially closed

CPC Corporation, Taiwan, officially closed its Kaohsiung oil refinery last Friday after 25 years of operation.

In 1990, Hau Pei-tsun, who was the Taiwanese president at that time, promised to shut down the refinery to secure the consent of local residents to build the fifth naphtha cracker at its current location in the city’s Nanzih District.

The complete cleanup of the Kaohsiung refinery could take 20 years, though the city government is pushing to have this completed in 17.

Earlier, CPC closed its joint venture Group I base oil refinery in Kaohsiung in November 2014 and its lubricant blending plant in February 2015.

CPC’s three refineries located at Kaohsiung, Taoyuan and Dalin have a combined refining capacity of 720,000 barrels per day. The Kaohsiung Refinery has the longest history of the three and operated as a large, integrated oil refining and petrochemical plant. The Dalin Refinery, which has a capacity of 300,000 barrels per day, became operationally independent of the Kaohsiung Refinery in 1996. The Taoyuan Refinery came on stream in 1976, and, following some renovations and the addition of a second distillation plant, now has a refining capacity of 200,000 barrels per day.

Due to the closure of the Kaohsiung Refinery, CPC will install additional facilities in Dalin to meet market demand for petroleum products and to supply the local petrochemical industry with raw materials. Current plans call for the construction of an ambient-pressure petroleum distillation facility with a daily refining capacity of 150,000 barrels, a 50,000 barrel light crude distillation facility and hydrodesulfurization plants for both diesel (40,000 barrels) and kerosene (30,000 barrels), all of which are expected to be completed in June 2017.

To boost the value of the mixed C4 hydrocarbons produced by the heavy fuel oil conversion plant to manufacture high-value petrochemical products, CPC has planned a 180,000 tonne-per-year isononanol (INA) plant and a 144,000 tonne-per-year methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) plant, with commercial production to start in 2020.