Europe PTA balanced despite BP’s force majeure in Belgium

15 December 2010 17:30  [Source: ICIS news]

VALENCIA, SPAIN (ICIS)--The European purified terephthalic acid (PTA) market remains balanced despite a force majeure (FM) at BP’s Geel plant in Belgium, sources said on Wednesday.

"The market is balanced and [customers] are a little anxious of where extra volumes are coming from," according to a supplier.

The supplier added that it had no product to spare but was not aware that the FM declared on Saturday was causing a huge problem.

Demand for PTA into polyethylene terephthalate (PET) was still healthy considering December is traditionally a slow month.

Uncompetitive PET imports have resulted in European producers having to pump out more volume and customers becoming far more reliant on domestic product than in the past.

“Demand for resin is strong because of the lack of imports and there is no resin or PTA to be had,” the PTA supplier explained.

Players said they had heard unofficial reports of BP’s PTA plant coming back on-stream Friday or early week commencing 20 December.

“Through third parties I heard they have already installed the agitator and are trying to operate,” one customer said.

BP would only confirm that, "customers were currently receiving 70% of their December volume under the resulting allocation".

On hearing the news, a PET producer said it immediately cut its operating ratio to accommodate the loss of feedstock.

BP has two plants in Geel. One unit is 375,000 tonnes/year and the other is 650,000 tonnes/year, according to ICIS. The FM was recorded as affecting the former, though BP did not verify this information.

($1 = €0.75)

For more on PTA, PET visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Caroline Murray
44208 652 3214



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