Sharq further delays restart of Jubail LLDPE line

19 December 2007 07:23  [Source: ICIS news]

LLDPE supply in the Middle East looks set to worsen with SharqBy Prema Viswanathan

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Eastern Petrochemical’s (Sharq) has delayed the restart one of its two linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) lines in Saudi Arabia, a source close to the company said on Wednesday.

It was unclear at the time of writing when the unit, which was delayed following a turnaround, would resume operations, a source close to the company said.

The delay was likely to intensify supply constraints in the Middle East and Asia, traders and end users said

The first line restarted on 4 December, as scheduled. However, the second line, originally set to restart on 6 December, continues to be down, bringing total operating rates at the plant to 50%.

“The restart date of the second line is not confirmed,” the source said. Reasons for the delay were also not disclosed.

The two lines, with a total capacity of 750,000 tonnes/year at Al Jubail, were shut down for maintenance on 22 November.

Sharq officials were not immediately available for comment.

The delay will exacerbate the tight supply of LLDPE in the Middle East and Asia, traders said.

Limited availability caused LLDPE prices to rise last Friday by up to $40/tonne in the Middle East and by up to $70/tonne in South Asia from a month earlier, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

Offers into Pakistan from the Middle East were heard this week at $1,660/tonne CFR (cost and freight) Pakistan, up $110/tonne from last week, with no buying ideas available due to the pre-Eid slowdown in trade.

Sharq, a 50:50 joint venture between Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) and SPDC, a Japanese consortium headed by Mitsubishi Corp and Mitsubishi Chemical, also operates a 1.3m tonne/year cracker at Al Jubail.

By: Prema Viswanathan
+65 6780 4359

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