Chile’s ethylene shortages affect PE and PP production

01 February 2012 22:25  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Undisclosed technical problems at the ethylene plant of Chile’s only refiner, Enap, are setting back production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), local sources said on Wednesday.

The Enap ethylene plant will be stopped for eight days, according to downstream sources.

This has prevented restart of Dow Chemical’s 46,000 tonne/year plant, which was down after an emergency shutdown last week to correct an excessive pressure build-up in a reactor.

Although the Dow plant problems have been resolved, restart has been postponed until the supply of ethylene is restored, local sources said.

Petroquim, Chile’s domestic PP producer, is also dealing with shortages of ethylene for copolymers and short supply of feedstock propylene for other grades.

Stocks of one grade of PP were said to be reaching critical levels in the Chilean market.

Chile’s domestic PP prices are expected to remain steady in February at a minimum of $1,620/tonne (€1,231/tonne) for homopolymers, according to the local supplier.

However, tightening PP supply and skyrocketing propylene prices could lift PP price levels for March.

Dow did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

($1 = €0.76)

By: George Martin
+1 713 525 2653

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