BASF declares force majeure on PBT due to BDO feedstock shortage

15 June 2011 12:56  [Source: ICIS news]

BASFLONDON (ICIS)--BASF has declared force majeure on polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) and reduced output volumes because of limited availability of feedstock butanediol (BDO), the chemicals major said on Wednesday.

Europe’s largest PBT producer declared force majeure on PBT base polymer and compounds, both marketed under the BASF trade name Ultradur, on 7 June. However, it is still producing material.

“BASF has not stopped PBT production, but had to significantly reduce output volumes due to the limited availability of BDO,” a company source said.

BASF’s Ludwigshafen facility is not currently producing BDO because of a lack of raw material acetylene. Production of the feedstock was disrupted following a fire in a precursor plant at the facility on 30 May. The company declared force majeure on BDO on 31 May.

PBT production at the 100,000 tonne/year facility in Schwarzheide, Germany, will be increased once BDO stock is more readily available, the source said. In the meantime, its customers are on allocation.

The source said: “We are making continuous efforts to adjust the allocation quota by searching for alternative feedstock sources.”

Global availability of PBT was limited prior to the force majeure now in place at BASF, and there is now some supply concern among market players. One buyer has said that it does not have all the material it requires for June and July as a result of the limited availability of PBT.

Second-quarter PBT contract prices in Europe settled at an increase of €0.20-0.30/kg ($0.29-0.43/kg) compared with the first quarter, which was due to increases in raw material costs and strong demand.

PBT is widely used in the electric and electronics sector, as well as in communications, fibre optics and the automotive industry.

($1 = €0.69)

For more on PBT, visit ICIS chemical intelligence
For more on BASF, visit ICIS company intelligence
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By: Helena Strathearn
+44 208 652 3214

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