NewsFlashDuPont declares VAM force majeure

05 September 2007 21:48  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--DuPont has declared force majeure on vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) due to supply issues, the company said on Wednesday.


Customers were told of the force majeure during the weekend, said Cathy Branciaroli, communications officer for DuPont Performance Materials.


Branciaroli would not comment on the scope of the force majeure, its possible duration or the specific causes.


European and North American vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) buyers and sellers had earlier reported that DuPont was experiencing difficulties.


According to a number of market players, DuPont’s 335,000 tonne/year Texas VAM plant at LaPorte was experiencing logistical difficulties. Branciaroli would not comment on whether the force majeure involved the LaPorte facility.


A distributor source close to DuPont said the LaPorte facility could lose three to four weeks of production. 


DuPont consumes most of the VAM that it produces in order to make other materials.


News of problems with VAM production at DuPont comes at a time of tight global supply caused by production difficulties at several major plants and a single prolonged outage at Celanese in Clear Lake, Texas, the world’s largest acetic acid plant.


Force majeure on VAM supply from US plants was announced last month by both Lyondell and Dow Chemical in Europe. 


In Europe, BP has only recently restarted production at its 275,000 tonne/year VAM plant at Hull, UK, after announcing force majeure and imposing allocations on VAM on 12 July.


Buyer sources had recently said that allocation levels had increased from below 10% to at least 50%.


Acetic acid and VAM producers include BP, Celanese, Celanese-owned Acetex Chemie, Dow, Lyondell and Wacker Chemie.


(Additional reporting by Alex Martinos and Brian Ford)

By: Peter Salisbury
+44 20 8652 3214

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