France's Arkema to lift force majeure on DOP supplies on 12 March

08 March 2012 15:26  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--France’s Arkema is to lift force majeure on dioctyl phthalate (DOP) supplies from its 70,000 tonnes/year site in Chauny, northern France, on 12 March, a company source said on Thursday.

Technical problems led to a shutdown of the facility in early February, and the force majeure was declared after a weather-related restart failure.

The plant was successfully restarted on the weekend of 25-26 February, but production rates in the following days were described as “unsatisfactory”.

“The situation improved last weekend, but we wanted to stabilise production before lifting force majeure,” the company source said.

The problem now is to meet demand, it added.

Arkema is the largest DOP producer in Europe, so the outage has reduced availability and tightened the market.

The company’s oxo-alcohols facility will be shut down from 7 March until 10 April for a five-yearly maintenance.

Arkema’s stocks of 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH), an oxo-alcohol and feedstock for DOP, are not as high as expected, and remain low in the wider European market because of supply constraints and strong demand.

“We need to produce a lot more in advance in order to continue supply [of DOP] during the shutdown, and that will be difficult because product is tight and demand strong,” the producer said.

The company aims to meet the needs of regular customers during the maintenance period. However, additional requests might be declined.

($1 = €0.76)

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By: Abache Abreu
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