29 January 2010 13:45 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--BP Refining & Petrochemical’s (BPRP) two crackers at Gelsenkirchen, Germany, are running at reduced rates because of a problem that has led to a fouling of the internal pipes system, a company source said on Friday.
“We have declared a 10% reduction in deliveries to our customers as a result,” the source added.
It was not immediately clear when full production at the crackers might be resumed.
“We are investigating [the cause] and we should know more by the end of next week,” the source said, adding that it was “putting the best feeds” into its system to mitigate the impact of the rate reduction.
While a 10% cut in volumes might not seem too significant, the source said that it came at a time when demand was strong, its customers were nominating maximum contract volumes and in addition the cracker margin outlook for February was “looking good”.
BPRP operates two crackers at the Gelenskirchen site. The smaller of the two, No 4, currently has a nameplate capacity of 525,000 tonnes/year of ethylene, according to ICIS plants and projects data, and is scheduled to go into a planned maintenance turnaround in September.
The No 3 cracker has the capacity to produce 540,000 tonnes/year of ethylene.
Ethylene in Europe settled for February at €940/tonne ($1,305/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest ?xml:namespace>
Spot prices were currently assessed in the mid-€800s/tonne FD, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.
($1 = €0.72)
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