Cristal partially lifts force majeure at Stallingborough, UK TiO2 plant

12 July 2010 17:19  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Cristal Global has partially lifted a force majeure (FM) declaration at its 150,000 tonne/year titanium dioxide (TiO2) facility at Stallingborough in the UK, it said on Monday.

The FM was lifted with respect to all products except Tiona® 168, a pigment used for numerous downstream paints and coatings applications.

Operations were first suspended on 5 March after one of Cristal's pressurised containers ruptured, which resulted in a release of titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4) liquid and fumes. FM was declared on all of the products manufactured at the plant on 23 March.

Cristal was cautious, however, as commercial vice president Mike Stoll outlined: “Although we are pleased to be able to partially lift the FM declaration, demand in the marketplace for TiO2 remains very high and supply is limited.”

Players, while welcoming the long-awaited news, were sceptical how big an immediate impact would be made by the plant’s return as Cristal stated they would be operating very tight sales control for the foreseeable future.

One supplier thought Cristal would not be back at full capacity until August and TiO2 would continue to be scarce for some time yet.

“This will bring some relief to the market but we will not see a massive difference. There will certainly be no downturn in prices as demand remains very strong and inventories low,” said a producer.

The market has been extremely short in the past few months, and prices have shot up by €420/tonne ($532/tonne) this year.

Prices were currently around €2,400-2,600/tonne, according to ICIS, but this figure may be subject to a non-market, downward price adjustment in the near future.

($1 = €0.79)

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By: Amandeep Parmar
+44 208 652 3214

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