Lotte Chemical UK Wilton plant back to operating at full PTA rates

18 June 2010 08:17  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Lotte Chemical UK is operating its Wilton  purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant at full rates following a force majeure that lasted ten days, a company source said late on Thursday.

“We got up to full rates very early this week. We were off for approximately ten days,” said Mark Kenrick, the company’s business director.

A problem with the 500,000 tonne/year plant’s external steam supply on 30 May caused a blockage that brought the unit to a halt.

“We had less PTA available so we treated ourselves and the market place equitably,” Kenrick added.

The downstream 150,000 tonne/year polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plant at the same site lost production volumes because of the PTA shutdown, but rates were being “edged up”, he said.

There were conflicting views amongst players about current supply and demand in the PTA market.

According to sellers, PTA was tight, largely because of demand from PET producers who were compensating for a lack of imported material.

However, a PTA buyer said supply was not a problem and that demand was neither good nor bad.

European demand for PET was mixed, despite the summer months being the traditional high season for bottlers, sources said.

One reseller said its June sales had been unsatisfactory so far because of poor weather conditions.

Meanwhile, a PET consumer said its requirements were higher than expected.

Lotte Chemical UK restarted its PTA and PET plants in April after they had been shut down for more than a year.

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

Artenius UK, owned by La Seda de Barcelona, went into administration in July 2009.

($1 = €0.81)

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For more on Lotte Chemical UK visit ICIS company intelligence
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