Polimeri Europa’s Dunkirk LDPE back up after prolonged shutdown

21 April 2011 15:55  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Polimeri Europa’s 200,000 tonne/year low density polyethylene (LDPE) line at Dunkirk, France, has finally come back on stream following a prolonged, planned shutdown which began at the end of August 2010, a company source said on Thursday.

Restart of the plant, which has been fitted with a new tubular reactor, was delayed several times for technical reasons.

“The plant started up this morning,” said the source.

Force majeure was called on 14 January and will remain in place until a satisfactory level of stock has been built. The plant is currently running at reduced rates and will be ramped up in the coming weeks.

“When the Dunkirk plant comes back it will tip the balance of the market,” said an LDPE buyer who is hoping for lower prices in May.

Most LDPE sellers still see a strong market, and some even say that LDPE has become a speciality following some permanent closures of old units in Europe in 2009.

Spot LDPE prices eased a little in the middle of April, but they are still trading at close to record highs of €1,450-1,500/tonne ($2,101-2,174/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), and there was no sign of price erosion in monthly business in April.

Dow has announced a €100/tonne increase for all polyethylene (PE) grades in May, based on high upsteram crude oil and naphtha costs, but most buying sources are sceptical over its sucesss.

PE markets have slowed down during the second half of April due to holidays.

LDPE is used widely in the packaging and agricultural sectors.

($1 = €0.69)

For more on polyethylene visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Linda Naylor
+44 20 8652 3214

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