15 October 2010 22:25 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Global titanium dioxide (TiO2) producer Cristal has begun restarting a production unit at its plant site in Ashtabula, Ohio, the company said on Friday, but the site’s force majeure (FM) remains in effect.
The unit, which the company calls Ash 2, has a nameplate capacity of 110,000 tonnes/year. It was shut down unexpectedly at the end of September, prompting the FM on material made at the site.
The Ashtabula site includes a second TiO2 unit. It was not affected by the recent outage and has a nameplate capacity of 105,000 tonnes/year, according to ICIS plants and projects.
“Ash 2 is in the process of restarting at reduced rates,” Cristal spokesperson Amy Drusano said, adding that she could not speculate on how long the FM might remain in effect.
She also did not comment on the cause of the outage or how long it could take the unit to ramp up to full production.
One buyer conceded that any TiO2 supply interruption would tighten domestic supply, but downplayed the seriousness of this outage.
“They’ll be supplying 80-90% of their usual volumes by November,” the buyer said.
North American TiO2 prices moved up by 5-8 cents/lb ($110-176/tonne, €78-125/tonne) this week on continued supply constraints and healthy demand, sources said.
Other North American TiO2 suppliers include DuPont, Kronos, Tronox and Hunstman.
($1 = €0.71)
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