Petrologistics on verge of US propylene plant start-up

01 September 2010 22:32  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Petrologistics said on Wednesday it plans to start up operations at its propylene plant in Texas next week, a move that sources said could take some pressure off US monomer prices.

The 544,000 tonne/year unit in Houston was originally expected to come on stream at the end of July, but the start-up was delayed to the end of August and then to early September.

“The official start-up is scheduled for 8 September,” said Petrologistics’ senior vice president Hank Jeans.

Petrologistics expects to run the unit at capacity within 30 days of the start-up, he said

The unit would produce chemical- (CGP) and polymer-grade propylene (PGP) through propane dehydrogenation (PDH), the only plant of its kind in the US.

“It will be interesting to see how it will affect the propylene market,” a source said, pointing to questions about supply balance in September due to refinery turnaround season.

The start-up at Petrologistics would coincide with a renewed uptrend in US propylene, the price of which is rising due to firm demand and tight supply.

US polymer-grade propylene (PGP) contracts in August settled at 57.50 cents/lb ($1,268/tonne, €1,002/tonne), up by 2.00 cents/lb, while chemical-grade propylene (CGP) contracts rose to 56.00 cents/lb, also a 2.00 cent/lb increase.

US propylene producers last week nominated September increases of 3.00 cents/lb, and talk emerged on Wednesday that initial CGP settlement had already been reached for an increase of 2.50 cents/lb.

($1 = €0.79)

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By: William Lemos
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