23 June 2010 15:47 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--The fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) at the PCK refinery in Schwedt, Germany, is running normally, but the propylene (C3) force majeure declared by BP Refining and Petrochemical (BPRP) will remain in place at least until the end of this week, a company source said on Wednesday.
“[The force majeure] is not lifted yet because I want to see that [normal rates] for some days,” the source said.
The propylene-producing FCC at PCK Schwedt was taken down for planned maintenance on 7 April, with a restart originally scheduled for around 6 May. A gas leak and resulting fire on 15 May meant the downtime was extended and force majeure was declared on 17 May.
Some additional technical issues in the week ending 11 June saw the return to normal operations delayed, and the force majeure, originally expected to be lifted at the end of May, was extended.
The PCK Schwedt FCC has the capacity to produce 250,000 tonnes/year of propylene and is key to the inland German market. PCK shareholders also include Shell, Agip and Total.
Propylene contract discussions for July were getting under way this week. Market consensus suggested that a decrease was the most likely outcome to take into account improved supply and downwards pressure coming from weaker Asian and US markets. However, some producers mentioned shrinking cracker margins and strong demand as a reason for increasing contract values or, at the very least, securing a rollover.
June had settled at €1,000/tonne ($1,234/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), a rollover from May.
($1 = €0.81)
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