Spain’s Novapet resumes PET output, other firms also lift rates

17 November 2011 17:06  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Spain-based Novapet is increasing utilisation rates at its Barbastro polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plant following a shutdown that began in September, a company source said on Thursday.

“Operating rates are rising little by little. We haven’t reached full capacity yet,” the source said, speaking in Spanish.

The 100,000 tonne/year plant restarted around 14 November and saleable product is expected on 18 November, the source added.

The line in Barbastro is one of three offering a total capacity of 260,000 tonnes/year. It went down in September.

Production output at European PET plants have mostly been reduced because of poor demand, particularly in October. Buyers and sellers estimate that on average, Europe is producing at around 70% of full capacity.

However, an element of pre-buying has spurred some higher operating rates, other producers confirmed.

“We lifted our rates up recently because there is a better balance between demand and inventories,” a source at Thailand-based Indorama said.

Spain-based La Seda de Barcelona is operating its Artenius PET plants at full rates now, apart from at its 80,000 tonne/year plant in Volos, Greece, where poor sales have prompted a reduction of 20% in utilisation rates. The company had been planning to shut one plant down totally because of poor sales but this plan has since been abandoned.

Artenius has an additional 200,000 tonne/year PET plant in San Giorgio di Nogaro, Italy; a 140,000 tonne/year plant in Adana, Turkey; and a 170,000 tonne/year plant in el Prat de Llobregat, Spain.

“We are making all that we can,” according to a source at Artenius who added that on paper he is sold-out for November and December.

Neo Group is also sold-out from its 170,000 tonne/year unit in Klaipeda, Lithuania, following three months at reduced rates, a Neo Group representative said.

Meanwhile, a source at Cepsa Quimica said the group's PET plant in San Roque, Spain, which has a production capacity of 175,000 tonnes/year according to ICIS, is operating close to 80%. 

M&G Polimeri’s 120,000 tonne/year PET plant in Patrica, Italy, is scheduled to restart mid-November, but there is no confirmation of its current production situation.

The Patrica site has the capacity to produce 220,000 tonnes/year, according to ICIS, but is currently only operating one line and it is this that is going down for maintenance.

Lotte Chemical UK began a shutdown at its PET and upstream purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plants in northeast England. It is carrying out work anticipated from 2012 to address a few existing threats to production.

Its 150,000 tonne/year PET unit in Wilton is expected to be down for three weeks from 5-6 November. Its 500,000 tonne/year upstream PTA plant, also in Wilton, is also down though not necessarily for the same length of time.

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By: Caroline Murray
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