23 March 2011 17:51 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Planned maintenance has started at Huntsman’s larger methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI) facility at Rozenburg in the Netherlands, a company source said on Wednesday.
“The [280,000 tonne/year] MDI facility went down this morning as planned for four weeks,” it said.
The other 120,000 tonne/year MDI plant also at the Dutch site is expected to operate normally during this outage period, the source added.
In other news, BASF’s 560,000 tonne/year MDI operation at Antwerp in Belgium is also due to enter into turnaround at the end of the first quarter, although for a shorter period than first planned, a company spokesperson said.
The outage was originally expected to last for approximately 8-10 days but this has been shortened to less than one week in order to keep pace with strong demand, the spokesperson added.
The same MDI unit is also due to enter into another maintenance stop in the second quarter, although precise dates and duration are not yet available.
The MDI market is described as balanced-to-tight, depending on grade. This is because of good to seasonally-improving demand in the downstream construction sector, as well as a spate of plant outages.
Sellers are pushing for hikes of €200-250/tonne ($286-357/tonne) for April and the second quarter due to recent feedstock pressure, strengthening demand and tightening supply.
Buyers also reluctantly expect some sizeable increases for the second quarter, mainly driven by the recent uptrend in feedstock costs.
The European MDI prices were assessed in March between €1,800-1,950/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) for crude MDI and €2,000-2,100/tonne FD NWE for pure MDI, according to ICIS.
($1 = €0.70)
For more on MDI visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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