Lotte Chemical UK restarts Wilton PTA after a 13-month outage

09 April 2010 17:57  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Lotte Chemical UK has restarted its 500,000 tonne/year purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant in Wilton, UK, after a 13-month shutdown, a company source said on Friday.

“We are up-and-running and on-spec... We will start shipping [PTA] next week as we steadily increase rates,” said Nick King, the company’s PTA commercial director.

King added that the company’s 150,000 tonne/year polyethylene terephthalate (PET) unit, located at the same site, was still on schedule to start up on 15 April.

He said it as an “opportune moment” to bring Lotte’s manufacturing facilities in Wilton online as the market needed material, echoing comments from the company's CEO  and other industry players.

The downstream PET sector had experienced tightness for much of the year, largely due to a lack of imported material and delays in shipments from Asia. This had put pressure on PTA suppliers, buyers and sellers agreed.

Targets of plus €30/tonne ($40/tonne) for April PTA were heard, despite the fact that this month’s price for feedstock paraxylene (PX) is yet to be confirmed.

March PTA levels settled at €727-757/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), according to data from global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

The target set in December 2009 was to restart the PTA plant at the beginning of April, but the asset transfer agreement was only signed by previous owners, Artenius UK, at the end of January.

Lotte also needed final approval from the EU before it could proceed with plans for its newly acquired Wilton assets, King explained.

So it was not until 1 March that a crew had been recruited and preparation for the restart could begin, he said.

Lotte Chemical UK, a subsidiary of KP Chemical, bought Artenius UK’s Wilton assets in January.

Artenius UK, owned by La Seda de Barcelona, went into administration in July.

($1 = €0.75)

For more on PTA, PET and PX visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Caroline Murray
44208 652 3214



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