24 February 2009 22:08 [Source: ICIS news]
The source said Celanese has not restarted the facility because it wants to sell off excess inventory built up there. Acetic acid, like many petrochemicals, has experienced plunging demand in recent months due to the global economic downturn.
Celanese spokesman Travis Jacobsen said it is company policy not to comment on the operational status of its plants.
The 1.2m tonnes/year Clear Lake unit, just south of Houston, is the world's largest acetic acid plant. It closed for maintenance in late October and was scheduled to reopen in late November, according to a customer letter obtained by ICIS news.
The facility closed in order to replace a reactor that was repaired in 2007 following a force majeure (FM) at the Clear Lake facility, according to the letter.
Celanese had implemented a 100% global sales control on acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) from 1 October through 31 December, according to the document.
The Clear Lake plant's outage "could impact our short-term ability to meet excess demand", the letter said.
VAM is the primary downstream product for acetic acid.
The latest export price range for acetic acid was $450-550/tonne (€356-435/tonne) FOB (free on board) USG (US Gulf), according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.
($1 = €0.79)
For more on Celanese's Clear Lake, Texas, acetic acid plant, visit ICIS plants and projects
For more on acetic acid visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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