07 April 2011 14:07 [Source: ICIS news]
VALENCIA, Spain (ICIS)--Lotte Chemical UK has declared force majeure (FM) on supplies of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) from its plant at Wilton, UK, and is shutting down its downstream polyethylene terephthalate (PET) unit at the same site for maintenance, a company source said on Thursday.
“An unforeseen major upset” on 3 April resulted in a problem with the catalyst and the production of off-spec PTA material, Mark Kenrick, business director for Lotte Chemical UK, said in a letter to customers.
“We are expecting it to come back on line at the end of next week,” Kenrick added.
This is the second FM in as many months for Lotte Chemical's Wilton plant, which has a PTA capacity of 500,000 tonnes/year.
A scheduled mandatory outage at Lotte Chemical’s 150,000 tonne/year PET plant at Wilton has been brought forward because of the PTA FM, Kenrick said.
“We stopped feeding merchant PTA into PET yesterday…[The PET unit] will be down for a similar timescale to the PTA outage,” Kenrick said.
There is sufficient PET inventory to satisfy customers' requirements because Lotte Chemical had been building stocks for the planned shutdown in May, he added.
The PTA FM follows BP's four declarations of FM on supplies from its plant in Geel, Belgium, all of which have been lifted but have caused PTA and PET to become tight.
The lack of PTA led Artenius in February to declare FM on PET supplies from its plants in Prat de Llobregat, Spain; Volos, Greece; Adana, Turkey; and San Giorgio, Italy.
Those units are now operating at 85-90% of capacity despite the ongoing FM, two sources at the company confirmed.
Lotte Chemical, a subsidiary of KP Chemical, bought Artenius UK’s assets in January 2010.
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