Thai MMA extends No 1 line shutdown on feedstock shortage

11 July 2012 11:29  [Source: ICIS news]

BRISBANE (ICIS)--Thai MMA has extended the duration of the shutdown of its 90,000 tonne/year No 1 methyl methacrylate (MMA) line at Map Ta Phut because of a shortage of feedstock isobutylene, a company source said on Wednesday.

However, the producer postponed the shutdown to 18 July from its initial plan of 10 July, the company source said without explaining the reason for the postponement.
Thai MMA originally planned to take its No 1 MMA line off line for 10-14 days. However, in view of the feedstock shortage, it decided to extend the duration to 35 days, the source explained.

Thai MMA's No 1 line is currently running at 100% of capacity.

The shutdown is likely to have a limited impact on the Asian MMA spot market, as demand is weak, said market players.

The No 1 line may be shut again in September for at least 20 days should the company fail to secure enough feedstock, said the company source.

The company typically secures its raw material from Bangkok Synthetics' (BST) 40,000 tonne/year C4 raffinate (isobutylene) unit in Map Ta Phut. The C4 raffinate plant, along with all the other plants of BST and its affiliate BST Elastomers, was shut on 5 May following a blast at the site.

"These conditions (the shutdowns) might continue if our supplier does not restart in the middle of October," the company source said.

Thai MMA's 90,000 tonne/year No 2 line at the same site was shut down in July for five days because of mechanical problems, he said, without providing additional details.

The No 2 line is scheduled for a 10-day maintenance shutdown in November, he added.

Thai MMA is a joint venture between Japan's Mitsubishi Rayon Corp (MRC) and Thailand's Siam Cement Group.

MMA is produced using a two-stage gas-phase oxidation of isobutylene to methacrylic acid, followed by esterification.


By: Junie Lin



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