France's Total continues FM on PX, OX, toluene

07 October 2011 12:51  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--French chemicals producer Total has continued the force majeure on paraxylene (PX), orthoxylene (OX) and toluene at its Gonfreville facility, a company source confirmed on Friday.

The force majeure was first announced in a company declaration on 19 September.

"The force majeure is still in place. We announced it to our customers on 19 September, and we do not expect to lift it until end of October,” the source added.

Total has the capacity to produce 135,000 tonnes of PX, 110,000 tonnes of OX and 40,000 tonnes of toluene at the Gonfreville facility.

The force majeure has had a limited impact on the availability of all three aromatics, as demand in downstream markets has been slow.

Producers of polyethylene terephthalic acid (PTA) – the main derivative of PX – and phthalic anhydride (PA), the major derivative of OX, reported a drop in demand as a result of economic concerns and tight inventory management across the petrochemical chain.

However, any possible tightness for PX has been counterbalanced by delays to Artlant PTA’s new plant in Sines, Portugal, coming on stream, and recent production problems at Lotte Chemical UK’s PTA plant in Wilton, England, a PX producer said.

“I see the supply and demand of PX as balanced, because Artlant has delayed the start-up of its production until November,” the producer added.

In relation to the European PX market, another producer said: “There’s enough product around. Everybody is running on low inventories.”

($1 = €0.74)

For more on paraxylene visit ICIS chemical intelligence

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By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214

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