BP to raise PTA supply allocation as US plants restart

14 June 2011 18:08  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The restoration of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) production at BP’s plants in Decatur, Alabama, and Cooper River, South Carolina, are proceeding on schedule, a company source said on Tuesday.

“The first Decatur unit started producing PTA on Sunday, the next one is due tomorrow and the third one by Monday,” the source said, adding that the Cooper River unit “should be on stream in a few days”.

BP intends to raise its 25% supply allocation on US PTA as soon as production volumes allow, and hopes to announce an increase to 50% later this week, probably to take effect from 20 June.

Assuming that all units restart as planned, BP hopes to have a 100% allocation in place by the end of next week.

The PTA allocation will not be removed until BP is certain that all plants are fully operational and able to supply the necessary quantities of PTA to polyethylene terephthalate (PET) manufacturers.

BP’s 1.15m tonne/year Decatur plant went down on 28 April following a storm-related power outage, while a unit at its 750,000–800,000 tonne/year Cooper River site did not restart on schedule after planned maintenance work.

As a result, the UK-based company declared force majeure on PTA on 28 April, imposing a supply allocation of 50%. On 1 June, this was cut to 25%.

PTA is the principal feedstock for PET, which used in the manufacture of plastic bottles.

Following BP’s declaration of force majeure on PTA, two US PET producers had no choice but to declare force majeure on PET supply.

Indorama’s 432,000 tonne/year Decatur PET plant was also affected by the power outage, and the company imposed a supply allocation of 35% on its customers.

US-based Wellman declared force majeure on PET from its 375,000 tonne/year plant at Pearl River, Mississippi, on 1 June, placing customers on 60% allocation.

BP Chemicals and US-headquartered DAK Americas are the only PTA producers in the US.

For more on PTA and PET, visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Samuel Weatherlake
+44 20 8652 3214

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