14 May 2008 00:22 [Source: ICIS news]
By Stephen Burns
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US chemical companies with operations in ?xml:namespace>
Of Dow's six manufacturing sites in China, the closest to the earthquake was an adhesives and sealants plant in Wuhan, some 1,000 kilometres (621 miles) away from Chengdu, the city in Sichuan province that was hard-hit by the quake.
DuPont spokesman Anthony Farina said the company has a refrigerants plant located only 92km from the epicentre in the city of
There has been no earthquake impact on any of DuPont's total of 16 manufacturing sites in
Celanese spokesman Jeremy Neuhart said the company's acetic acid plant in
"We've not seen any major business disruption so far," Neuhart said.
Eastman Chemical also has a manufacturing site in
Across the chemical spectrum,
But most sources readily admitted it was too soon to tell how the earthquake impact would play out, and noted that the region most affected was not significant in terms of chemical activity despite being a major producer of natural gas.
“With the exception of a fertilizer plant, it was far away from most petrochemical plants. Except for distracting the Chinese government, I expect little impact from the earthquake,” a
But that source and others acknowledged that their assessments could change as more information about the disaster becomes available. Actual price reaction in
Most speculation centred on whether demand for materials for reconstruction would pull on the global market balances. The areas affected by
A North American-based methanol buyer said that if clean-up efforts take a substantially long time, methanol demand could spike higher alongside demand for formaldehyde, a downstream product used in construction materials.
As well as natural gas,
If that supply is interrupted,
“Right now we haven’t seen any unexpected increase in demand, but by next week we may see that starting to take shape,” the trader said.
How the earthquake impact would play out alongside the effect of the Beijing Olympic Games was another issue on the minds of US sources.
“This could end up in redistribution [of materials] for the Chinese market,” a North American plastics producer said.
A disruption of fuel supply to the country’s manufacturing sector would certainly have some impact on global markets, especially in a year when the world’s most populated nation is hosting the summer games, the producer said.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday evening said that saving lives is still the priority of current relief work following the quake, according to state news agency Xinhua.
The official death toll exceeds 12,000 victims.
(With additional reporting by Landon Feller, Greg Holt, Lane Kelley, Gene Lockard, George Martin, and Steven McGinn)
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