Europe to see reduced ECH imports from Dow’s idled Freeport train

16 September 2010 16:52  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Dow Chemical will this week idle the 100,000 tonne/year train at its epichlorohydrin (ECH) plant at Freeport, in the US state of Texas, for the rest of the year, which will reduce exports of the material to Europe, a company source said on Thursday.

“Because of reduced exports to Asia over the last few years, there is not sufficient demand in the rest of the world to run both assets at an adequate operating rate,” said the source, referring to the Freeport site's two ECH trains.

“The key impact for Europe is that Dow's ability to export to the region from Freeport will be reduced in the months ahead.”

The European ECH market is currently seen as finely balanced, although a couple of domestic manufacturers were planning maintenance work in the fourth quarter, which could cause tightness in the coming weeks, according to market observers.

Restrictions on the feedstock chlorine led Dow to bring forward the shutdown at Freeport, which was originally set to occur in the fourth quarter, meaning the company also had to forego opportunities for spot sales in the intervening period, the source added.

The source stated that the Freeport site's small train was started in March of this year to ensure adequate supply during the six-week outage in May and June of the larger 265,000 tonne/year ECH unit at the site.

Although the bigger train was predicted to continue running at capacity, output would ultimately depend on chlorine availability, the source said.

European ECH September contract prices were currently valued at €1,750-1,800/tonne ($2,273-2,338/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).

($1 = €0.77)

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By: Amandeep Parmar
+44 208 652 3214

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