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S.Korea’s LG Chem operates naphtha crackers at full capacity

South Korea’s LG Chem is running its two naphtha crackers at full capacity amid an oil price plunge and shutdowns of petrochemical plants in Asia, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.

The petrochemical maker had lowered its crackers’ run rates to 95% in early March for less than a week, weighed down by weak demand from China in the midst of a spreading coronavirus, the spokesman said.

The increase comes as market conditions improved slightly on the back of falling oil prices and a halt in petrochemical operations at South Korea’s Lotte Chemical and Petronas-Aramco’s oil refining and petrochemical complex in Malaysia in March.

Naphtha is derived from refining crude oil. Asia’s naphtha crack, or profit margins from making naphtha, touched a two-session high of $40.25 a tonne on Tuesday, rebounding from a six-month low in the previous session, as more buyers came forward.

LG Chem, South Korea’s top petrochemical maker by capacity, operates two naphtha crackers, with a total ethylene output capacity of 2.5 million tonnes each year.

Source: Reuters (Reporting by Jane Chung; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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