Ineos cuts Antwerp phenol rates to 50% after fire

12 April 2006 17:40  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Operating rates at Ineos Phenol’s Antwerp, Belgium site will run at around 50% of  maximum capacity for the next few weeks after a fire last weekend, the company said on Wednesday.

Nameplate capacity at the site is 420,000 tonne/year for phenol and 260,000 tonne/year for acetone.

Market sources said it was rather early to discuss the impact on the European market and most expected any effects to be felt only after the Easter holiday. One buyer, however, said it was worried about phenol availability from the plant and expressed concern about the short-term impact on supply.

The fire, which broke out in a distillation unit and was brought under control after about an hour and a half, has occurred in the midst of second quarter contract discussions for methyl methacrylate (MMA) acetone business.

Producers were sticking firmly to their target increase of Euro40/tonne while buyers were aiming for a rollover at most. Consumers said the acetone market was long and doubted that the fire would affect the outcome of negotiations.

However, some suppliers were confident the issue would limit supply and allow them to lift spot prices to at least Euro700/tonne free delivered (FD) Northwest Europe (NWE). Prices on Wednesday were assessed between Euro630 and Euro670/tonne, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

Ineos operates two phenol/acetone plants in Europe. Its larger plant, at Gladbeck, Germany, has a nameplate capacity of 645,000 tonne/year for phenol with 403,000 tonne/year for acetone. The plant was understood to be running normally.

By: Edward Cox
+44 20 8652 3214

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