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PetroChina Dalian to test run new crude unit Sunday

Written by: Staff

SINGAPORE, Mar 21 (Reuters) PetroChina plans to start test running a new 200,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) crude unit at its northeast China unit this Sunday after a delay of four months due to safety concerns, company officials said on Tuesday.

Dalian refinery, in northeast China's Liaoning province, will start pumping crude to the new unit on March 26, in line with a revised target it set out late last year. It is now sending steam and water to test the pipes and meters, they said.

The unit is not expected to operate at full rates until the second half of 2007, when the refinery completes a 71,000-bpd hydrocracking unit to produce high-quality diesel and jet fuel.

''The new unit will be running at low rates until the secondary units are built,'' said a PetroChina official from Beijing.

PetroChina, Asia's top oil producer and China's second-largest refiner, postponed the startup of the new plant from last November for safety reasons after a blast at Jilin Petrochemical, a sister company in neighbouring Jilin province, spilled chemicals into the Songhua river.

The refinery will process high-sulphur crude in the trial run and the new unit is designed to yield more diesel, but the plant's total daily output will remain little changed at around 200,000 barrels, officials said.

The plant, located in the booming port city of Dalian, now operates two crude units with a combined daily capacity of 200,000 barrels.

Once the new crude unit enters normal operation, the refinery will switch off an older 120,000 bpd unit.

Reuters PR DB0921

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