Cumene shortage pushes Sunoco to declare FM on phenol – US trader

10 March 2011 16:48  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A cumene shortage pushed Sunoco to declare force majeure (FM) on phenol and alpha-methyl styrene (AMS), a US trader said on Thursday.

In a letter to its customers, Sunoco said mechanical failures and breakdowns with a fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) at its Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, refinery forced it to shut down the unit on 8 March, according to the trader.

As a result, Sunoco said it is operating its cumene unit at limited capacity, resulting in reduced operation of its phenol manufacturing facilities.

Cumene is a feedstock for phenol. AMS is a co-product in the phenol production process of cumene oxidation.

The company said the exact duration of the FM is unknown, but it is expected to last into April, according to the letter.

A Sunoco media spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation.

According to ICIS plants and projects, Sunoco can produce 545,000 tonnes/year of cumene at the Philadelphia refinery.

The US March cumene contract price is assessed by ICIS at 65-68 cents/lb ($1,433-1499/tonne, €1,032-1,079/tonne) FOB (free on board).

For more on cumene and phenol visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: John Dietrich

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