Europe oxos players plan for OXEA US shutdown

17 April 2008 15:51  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Possible extensions to a planned n-butanol (NBA) maintenance at OXEA’s US facility could affect the European oxo-alcohols market, a company source said on Thursday.

The NBA line in Bay City, Texas, which has a capacity of 77,000 tonnes/year according to ICIS plants and projects, was scheduled to go down on 11 April for a two-week turnaround.

However, this could now be extended by a further two weeks, said an OXEA source in Europe, although no fixed dates could be confirmed.

“If this is the case, then may need to reduce our 2-EH [2-ethylhexanol] production in Europe, in favour of NBA production so we can send material to support our US plant,” said the source.

“The decision has not yet been taken, and we have to assess whether our 2-EH stocks are endangered by the extension, and also our plans for NBA”, the source added.

In Europe, OXEA has planned a four- or five-week maintenance programme at its 300,000 tonne/year 2EH line at Oberhausen in Germany, where it also produces 130,000 tonnes/year of NBA.

Stocks were being built up ahead of the outage, so the possibility of a long extension to the Bay City plant could hamper inventory plans.

Market sources in the US had said that contract buyers would probably not be affected by the scheduled outage, but some expressed concern about spot availability of NBA, iso-butanol (IBA) and 2-EH.

A knock-on effect across the Atlantic was not widely anticipated, however.

The European 2-EH market has remained tight for some months, while allocations and pre-maintenance stock builds continued to restrict available product.

Prices were last assessed at €1,270-1,300/tonne ($2,016-2,063/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) basis, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

($1 = €0.63)

For more on 2-EH and NBA visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Adal Rafiq
+44 20 8652 3214

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