Dow declares force majeure on US MMA

06 May 2010 18:59  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Dow Chemical declared force majeure (FM) in North America on methyl methacrylate (MMA) from its Deer Park plant in Texas following mechanical failures, sources said on Thursday.

The allocation could last through mid-June, a buyer said.

Sources said the plant had experienced mechanical problems since January, sources said.

A Dow spokesperson confirmed the company was was experiencing production issues at its MMA plant, which affected its ability to meet certain supply commitments.

“We are therefore declaring force majeure for MMA,” said Dow spokesperson Rebecca Bentley. “We are working swiftly and safely to bring these units back to full production rates as soon as possible, and will continue to monitor the situation and keep customers informed as updates are available.”

MMA buyers were already dealing with a sales allocation from Lucite amid to a planned shutdown at its plant in Memphis, Tennessee.

“All these force[s] majeures and sales allocations have gotten to the point of being comical,” a buyer said. “Is there any chemical company left that isn't on one or the other?”

Another buyer said: “The supply situation really is as bad as the sellers say it is right now, but why it is so bad is debateable."

“There have been issues with feedstock availability for a long time, plus producers have not been able support investment in MMA plants because demand was bad for so long," the second buyer continued. "And sellers learned they can make more money by operating less efficiently at reduced rates.”

US MMA sellers include Dow, Arkema, Evonik and Lucite.

($1 = €0.78)

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By: Heather McGuire Doyle
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