Pertamina shuts benzene unit on poor demand

26 November 2008 10:55  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Indonesia’s Pertamina has stopped benzene production at its Cilacap-based unit from November on weak demand from end-users and poor market conditions, a company source said on Wednesday.

The company stopped operating its 96,000 tonne/year benzene unit from November, with a tentative restart time around the beginning of 2009, the source said.

The decision followed a reduction in demand from end-users, who were forced to cut benzene term contracts as they faced a fall in demand from the derivatives segments, the source said.

The Pertamina source said that the steep fall in benzene values since October to the current $300/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea levels was another reason for making the production of benzene unattractive at present.

Styrene monomer (SM) and phenol producers across the region have been operating plants at reduced rates due poor demand in derivatives markets.

Pertamina was also operating its 265,000 tonne/year paraxylene (PX) unit at the same complex at 60% capacity since mid-October, the source said.

Some of the key benzene producers in southeast Asia are Singapore’s ExxonMobil, Thailand’s PTT and Rayong Olefins (ROC).

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By: Mahua Chakravarty
+65 6780 4359

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