24 March 2005 05:54 [Source: ICIS news]
SINGAPORE (CNI)--Some Asian propylene traders expressed concerns on Thursday over rumours that the explosion at BP's Texas City refinery might have affected its 320,000 tonne/year fluid catalytic cracker (FCC).
The refinery explosion had killed at least 14 people, according to company officials.
They said the blast was traced to the refinery’s isomerisation unit. The cause would be investigated by the company as well as government agencies such as the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) also plans to investigate the blast.
"We heard that the isomerisation unit and the FCC at the BP's Texas refinery were affected by the explosion," an Asian trader said. However, BP officials had said the blast affected only the isomerisation unit so far.
The Asian propylene market is currently facing a supply squeeze for April delivery because of a number of plant turnarounds in North Asia. The Asian prices would find more support if the BP's FCC was affected or shut, traders said.
Asian traders and end-users usually buy propylene from the US and South America due to the short supply situation in the east. A Japanese trader was expected to deliver about 13,000 tonne of April-arrival propylene from the US Gulf and Brazil to Northeast and Southeast Asia.
"Any problem with the BP's FCC would mean less deepsea cargoes heading from West to East," another trader said.
Asian propylene prices for April delivery were pegged around $1,000-1,050/tonne CFR Northeast Asia on Thursday, with offers around $1,100/tonne CFR Northeast Asia. April propylene prices have risen consistently in the past two weeks.
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