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Wed 9 Jun 2010 09:53 PM

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Saudi's PetroRabigh says naphtha now clean of MTBE

Company unclear about what caused the contamination as investigations continue.

Saudi's PetroRabigh says naphtha now clean of MTBE
ADDITIVE CONTAMINATION: Saudi Arabias PetroRabigh said that its naphtha output was back to normal after gasoline additive MTBE had contaminated some production. (Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia based PetroRabigh said on Wednesday its naphtha output was back to normal after it found the gasoline additive MTBE had contaminated some production slated for use as a petrochemical feedstock.

Some 200,000 tonnes of Rabigh grade naphtha contains a high amount of MTBE, traders said last week.

Speaking to Reuters, a spokesman with PetroRabigh said: "Petro Rabigh's production of naphtha is back to normal with non-detectable levels of MTBE."

PetroRabigh is a joint venture between Japan's Sumitomo Chemical and state oil giant Saudi Aramco.

It remains unclear what caused the contamination and PetroRabigh continued to investigate how the contaminant got there, the spokesman said. The plant does not produce MTBE.

At the time the contaminated naphtha was discovered, traders worried they might need to substitute PetroRabigh cargoes with alternative supplies in what was a tight market.

Since then, sentiment in naphtha markets has been hit by falling petrochemical margins. Most crackers are still running at high levels, but traders expected petrochemical firms in north Asia to start cutting runs from July. (Reuters)

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