Taiwan PTA exports to fall in April on intensive shutdowns

24 March 2010 11:50  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Taiwan is expected to reduce purified terephthalic acid (PTA) exports to China in April due to intensive shutdown plans, market sources said on Wednesday.

Taiwan’s China American Petrochemical (Capco), the largest PTA producer in the country, plans a turnaround at its No 6 700,000 tonne/year plant at Lin Yuan, Kaohsiung, for two weeks in the second half of April, a company source said on Wednesday.

“We have to shut down the plant for [a biennial] turnaround and this has already been delayed to the due date,” the source said.

The company restarted its No 5 500,000 tonne/year PTA plant at the same site on 18 March after a three-week scheduled turnaround.

Taiwan’s Formosa Chemical & Fiber Corp’s (FCFC’s) 400,000 tonne/year PTA line at Loong-der has been shut since the middle of March.

“The plant will be shut for about two weeks, and the restart is expected only by the end of March. So we don’t have much March and April cargoes to sell,” said a company source late last week.

Oriental Petrochemical Taiwan, another PTA major in the country, said on Wednesday that it had shut its 400,000 tonne/year PTA line at Kuan Yin, Taoyuan, due to mechanical problems.

“We [will] attempt to restart it today or tomorrow depending on the seriousness of the problem,” the source said.

“Our supplies are tight since we need to supplement our sister company in China. The 600,000 tonne/year PTA plant in Shanghai is slated to have a two-week shutdown from 10 April,” the source added.

Tuntex Petrochemicals’ 440,000 tonne/year PTA plant has been running at 80% since its restart in late February after a week-long maintenance shutdown following a technical outage, a company source said recently.

“We are unable to ramp up the operating rates because some key machinery seemed to have been impaired by that outage,” the source said, adding that the company was considering shutting down the plant in May for three weeks of maintenance.

“Considering these shutdowns, I started to consider accepting offers at $970/tonne CFR [cost and freight] China Main Port [CMP] for Taiwanese cargoes,” a Zhejiang-based trader said.

Sellers had kept to this offer for a week, against bids capped at $960-965/tonne CFR CMP, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

There are four major PTA producers in Taiwan. Capco owns six PTA lines, with a total capacity of 2.2m tonne/year. Formosa has four PTA plants, totalling 2.07m tonne/year. Oriental runs two lines, totalling 900,000 tonne/year capacity. Tuntex has one 440,000 tonne/year PTA unit.

For more on PTA visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Becky Zhang
+65 6780 4359



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