24 March 2005 11:14 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--Paraxylene (PX) spot sellers backed away from the European market on Thursday morning after news reached traders of the explosion at the isomerisation unit of BP's Texas City refinery in the US Gulf, traders and industry players told CNI.
A producer in Germany commented that, “everybody who was keen on selling yesterday has withdrawn from the market today.”
Production of aromatics is sure to be affected as reformate will not be available for feedstock, the source ventured. This has yet to be confirmed, however, by BP.
Reports that all chemicals units at the site had been shut for safety reasons could not be confirmed.
Spot paraxylene prices were reported on Thursday morning at a minimum of $980/tonne free on board (FOB) Rotterdam, unchanged on Wednesday's levels. There were no offers reported as sellers waited to see what would be the outcome of the Texas City outage.
The impact of the blast will depend on the length of the outage, according to industry sources.
BP's two paraxylene units in Texas City have a combined capacity of about 1.2m tonne/year. The isomerisation and fractionation unit has a capacity of around 890,000 tonne/year and the toluene disproportionation (TDP) unit about 260,00 tonne/year, according to data from energy consultancy Nexant ChemSystems.
Fourteeen people were known to have died and some 70 were injured in the explosion at the 470,000 bbl/day refinery. Adjacent facilities at the huge petrochemicals complex were also likely to have been affected, a company spokesman told CNI. The 320,000 tonne/year fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) was rumoured to have been shut but this could not be confirmed.
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