20 February 2007 15:44 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--The restart of ConocoPhillips’ 80,000 tonne/year hydro-dealkylation (HDA) unit at Immingham, UK, has been postponed to the end of February due to technical difficulties, a company source said on Tuesday.
The turnaround was originally scheduled from 2 February and benzene production was expected to have been resumed from 19 February.
ConocoPhillips had no problems in fulfilling their contractual commitments and the only impact would be that the company would enter March with lower than anticipated inventories.
Production is also down at one reformer, but while one reformer is down, more feedstock will be pumped through the operating unit to compensate, and the combined reformer benzene output of 120,000 tonnes/year was not expected to be affected.
As the reformer production is not expected to be impacted, the overall benzene production for February would be reduced by 35% during the shutdown, compared to the original estimate of 25% output loss.
The surplus of toluene that would have been used for the HDA unit is of non-commercial grade and will be used as an octane booster for ConocoPhillips’ gasoline blending.
The news had little impact on the European spot market with March prices unchanged from the morning at $990-1,000/tonne (€753-761/tonne) CIF (cost, insurance, freight) ARA (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp).
Some traders said the market still appeared to be slightly long despite the recent export estimates to the US of around 40,000-50,000 tonnes during January and February.
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