Vinnolit shuts Knapsack chlor-alkali unit for maintenance

12 March 2010 15:25  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--European chlor-alkali producer Vinnolit’s Knapsack facility in Germany is undergoing planned maintenance and is expected to return to production by 14 March, company sources said on Friday.

The site, with a nameplate capacity of 350,000 tonnes/year of caustic soda and 160,000 tonnes/year of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), according to ICIS plants and projects data, went down on 8 March for the week-long outage.

A source close to PVC production said: “The maintenance is running to schedule and we aim to have all issues with the electrolysers resolved when the plant comes back on stream.”

The Knapsack facility had experienced some technical problems with its electrolysers around 12 February, which brought chlor-alkali output down to 60% of capacity. However, several electrolysers were brought up over the weekend of 13-14 February, leaving production at 80%.

The source added that the company intended to undertake a planned shutdown at its Cologne PVC site in Germany in early April. The plant has a nameplate capacity of 170,000 tonnes/year, according to ICIS plants and projects data, but has no caustic soda output.

Elsewhere, Germany-based chlor-alkali manufacturer Vestolit was still ramping up operating rates at its 400,000 tonne/year PVC and 285,000 tonne/year caustic soda plant at Marl in Germany following scheduled maintenance that began on 22 February, according to a company source.

“We have enough product despite the maintenance as we had built stocks in advance. We are operating at rates around 80% now and expected to be back up to full rates by Monday [15 March].” the source said.

Major chlor-alkali producer SolVin had also now brought its 300,000 tonne/year Tavaux, France, PVC facility back on stream following a planned two-week outage.

Meanwhile, several maintenance shutdowns were still in the pipeline moving into the second quarter.

French manufacturer Arkema had confirmed that it would halt production at its 325,000 tonne/year PVC site at Balan in France in the second half of March, as planned works were expected to commence on waterways around the plant.

Major caustic soda manufacturer AkzoNobel confirmed that it would take a planned outage in April, but further details were not yet forthcoming.

INEOS ChlorVinyls also confirmed its intention to undertake a shutdown at its Rafnes chlor-alkali site in Norway for "intense maintenance". The facility, which has a nameplate capacity of 150,000 tonnes/year of caustic soda and 135,000 tonnes/year of chlorine, would close in April, but further details were not yet clear.

There were also numerous reports that several planned outages in central and eastern Europe were due in March, but there was no confirmation from the producers.

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For more on PVC, chlorine and caustic soda, visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Stephanie Wilson
+44 20 8652 3214

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