Processing news briefs, Oct. 24
Formosa Petrochemical � US Supreme Court � Unocal
Formosa Petrochemical Corp. completed a trial production run of its second naphtha cracker Oct. 7 and began production of qualified ethylene Oct. 11. FPC will shut down its first naphtha cracker in early November in order to carry out maintenance and to eliminate several bottlenecks in its operating process. Following completion of the remaining engineering work by the end of next year, annual production capacity of the first cracker will be doubled to 900,000 metric tons of ethylene. FPC also plans to eventually increase the annual production capacity of its second cracker, currently 900,000 metric tons, to 1.1 million metric tons, bringing the combined annual production capacity of the two crackers to 2 million metric tons of ethylene.
The US Supreme Court has asked the Solicitor General to state the US position on the petition filed by ExxonMobil Corp. and four other refiners seeking a review of the validity of Unocal Corp.'s patent on reformulated gasoline, said ExxonMobil. Other refiners are concerned about the patent, claiming it was unfairly granted and that it could cost them millions of dollars (OGJ Online, Sept. 13, 2000). The Solicitor General's brief will likely be filed later this year. The court will then decide whether to review the Federal Circuit's decision.