Arkema restarts France PA plant’s reactor amid tight market

20 August 2010 16:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Arkema has restarted the larger of its two phthalic anhydride (PA) reactors at its 90,000 tonne/year PA plant at Chauny, France, amid tight supply in the market, a source with the petrochemical company said on Friday.

Production at the plant was expected to return to normal over the weekend of 21-22 August following the planned maintenance work, the source said.

The source could not confirm when the maintenance work began, but Arkema has been operating at reduced rates since the week ending 9 July because of technical problems.

The larger reactor has a nameplate capacity of 60,000 tonnes/year and the smaller reactor’s capacity is 30,000 tonnes/year, the source said.

The European PA market has been in tight supply, which is the result of several ongoing and recent production outages, according to market sources.

Atmosa Petrochemie’s 50,000 tonne/year PA plant in Schwechat, Austria, restarted on 12 August following a catalyst change, a company source confirmed last week. The outage began in the week ending 23 July.

CEPSA’s 32,000 tonne/year plant at Algeciras, Spain, will be operating at reduced rates until the end of August following technical problems, a company source previously confirmed.

Kemiplas confirmed last week that it restarted its 20,000 tonne/year plant at Fuzfogyartelep, Hungary, on 11 August following a two-week planned shutdown. The company reported a high level of demand.

European PA contract negotiations for August remain ongoing. This was due to summer holiday absences, meaning that some key accounts were not yet settled.

Expectations for August contract prices were between a rollover and a reduction of €15/tonne ($19/tonne), in spite of a €30/tonne reduction in the August contract price for the feedstock orthoxylene (OX).

August PA prices were expected to remain firm due to tighter supply and healthy demand, sources said.

The July PA contract price settled at 1,070-1,085/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) for liquid and €1,005-1,060/tonne FD NWE for solid.

The August OX contract price settled at €790/tonne FD NWE.

Additional reporting by Julia Meehan

($1 = €0.78)

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By: Mark Victory
+44 208 652 3214



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