11 May 2011 05:28 [Source: ICIS news]
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Japanese aromatics producer, Mitsubishi Chemical, is eyeing a 20 May restart of its two Kashima-based benzene units that were shutdown during the earthquake, a company source said late on Tuesday.
The plants were taken off line because of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan on 11 March, he said.
The company will attempt to restart production on 20 May, although damages to port facilities in Kashima are undergoing repairs, he added.
The two units can produce about 200,000 tonnes/year and 370,000 tonnes/year of benzene, respectively.
Mitsubishi Chemical’s third unit in Mizushima, which can produce about 210,000 tonnes/year of benzene, will be taken off line around the middle of May for scheduled maintenance, the source said.
The Mizushima-based unit is expected to restart production from the end of June, he added.
The company’s benzene supply is expected to dry up in the weeks ahead as a result of the spate of shutdowns, the source added.
However, the shutdowns are likely to have limited impact on the market as demand from the key downstream styrene monomer (SM) producers in Japan is not strong at present, other market participants said.
Some SM producers have cut back production in recent days because of poor margins, they added.
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