15 March 2011 18:11 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Planned maintenance is underway at SABIC’s 590,000 tonne/year ethylene (C2) cracker - Olefins 3 - at Geleen in the Netherlands, company spokeswoman Solange Schlosser said on Tuesday.
“I can confirm that Olefins 3 has been shut down for maintenance activities,” she said.
The cracker, which also has the capacity to produce 325,000 tonnes/year of propylene (C3), was shut down on 14 March.
It was anticipated that it would be restarted on 15-16 April, Schlosser added.
In addition to Olefins 3, SABIC also operates the Olefins 4 cracker at Geleen, which has a nameplate capacity of 660,000 tonnes/year of ethylene, according to ICIS data. Olefins 4 was shut down for a few days at the end of January because of technical issues.
The Olefins 3 maintenance shutdown coincides with a planned cracker turnaround at Dow Chemical’s No 1 cracker at Terneuzen in the Netherlands, which began around 11 March.
Several production problems at crackers and propylene-producing units at refineries since the start of the year had kept both ethylene and propylene supply on a tight footing.
Healthy demand and a notable uptick in upstream crude and naphtha markets meant that March contract prices settled higher than had been originally anticipated.
March ethylene and propylene contracts settled at €1,195/tonne ($1,660/tonne) and €1,185/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), respectively.
With the market now turning to expectations for April contract prices, sources were trying to understand what impact the disaster in Japan would have on the European marketplace. Sources agreed that it was too early to tell.
“How to read the signs? Nobody knows what is going to happen,” a large ethylene consumer said.
($1 = €0.72)
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