04 November 2011 12:29 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--INEOS is in the process of restarting its 245,000 tonne/year ethyl acetate (etac) plant at Hull in the UK, a source at the Swiss-headquartered petrochemicals major said on Friday.
“Indeed INEOS is in the process of starting up the etac unit,” the company source said via email, without specifying a restart date.
INEOS, the biggest producer of etac in northwest Europe, has been out of the spot market since mid-June when it declared force majeure on its supply from Hull and put contract customers on allocation.
Etac distributors said they expect the company to be back in the spot market by the third week of November. It is not known exactly when the force majeure is likely to be lifted.
Prices for etac – unlike for most other solvents which are on a downward pricing trajectory – were assessed up by €10-20/tonne ($14-28/tonne) because of some tightening of supply last week.
Bullish elements in the etac market had been counting on INEOS not returning to the spot market in November, thereby causing a further tightening of supply. Some distributors have acknowledged that prices could come under downward pressure if INEOS returns to the spot then.
Etac values could also come under additional pressure from the €20/tonne decrease in the feedstock ethylene contract price and softening acetic acid values, as well as the overall slow demand for etac as the year-end approaches.
Etac prices are currently assessed at €970-1,020/tonne (FD) free delivered (NWE) northwest Europe.
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