28 March 2011 17:50 [Source: ICIS news]
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--The restricted availability of feedstock cumene will dictate the operating rates of US phenol producers through April, keeping several at below maximum capacity, a supplier said on Monday.
US cumene sellers CITGO, Flint Hills Resources and Georgia Gulf have scheduled turnarounds during the first half of the year, and the US market is extremely tight, limiting spot deals and reducing downstream phenol rates.
Cumene is the feedstock for phenol/acetone production.
In addition, an unexpected issue at Sunoco’s fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania earlier this month has limited cumene supply pushing Sunoco to declare force majeure (FM) on phenol and alpha-methyl styrene.
"While CITGO is up now, and the Flint Hills unit is scheduled to restart this week, Georgia Gulf will be going into turnaround, along with its associated phenol/acetone plant, in early April," a phenol supplier said on the sidelines of the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC).
“Domestic demand has been steady and some phenol suppliers have even had to enter the spot market to meet requirements, so there is little chance of finding any surplus material in the spot market in the near-term,” a trader said.
Major US phenol suppliers include Dow Chemical , Sunoco, Georgia Gulf, Shell and INEOS Phenol, all of which have reduced supply in March, according to traders.
Hosted by the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), the IPC continues through Tuesday.
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