Czech Deza's DOP and PA production to return to normal by end of March

09 March 2012 10:54  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Production at Czech aromatics producer Deza’s dioctyl phthalate (DOP) and feedstock phthalic anhydride (PA) facilities will return to normal in the second half of March, a company source said on Friday.

The units have been running at reduced operating rates since a weather-related outage at Deza’s PA unit in February.

Supply from both plants continues and all contractual obligations are being met, the source said.

However, they are not producing at full range and there is limited availability for spot.

The outage at Deza, based at Valasske Mezirici in the eastern Czech Republic, has further reduced availability in the DOP market.

Supply has remained tight since a force majeure declaration in early February by Europe’s largest DOP manufacturer, the French chemicals producer Arkema.

The declaration, which affects Arkema’s 70,000 tonnes/year site at Chauny, northern France, is to be lifted on 12 March.

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, and the company now aims to stabilise production before lifting the force majeure.

But 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 stocks remain low in the wider European market because of supply constraints and strong demand.

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

Further production problems have been heard at another European manufacturing site, but this could not be confirmed at source.

In addition, Polish chemicals producer ZAK, based at Kedzierzyn-Kozle, southern Poland, is to shut its oxo-alcohols facilities on 17 June for 40 days of maintenance.

Little trade is being reported in the European DOP market because of poor availability and producers are declining inquiries from non-regular spot buyers because of low inventory levels.

($1 = €0.75)

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By: Abache Abreu
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