Styrolution declares FM on styrene business for August

01 August 2012 18:13  [Source: ICIS news]

Styrene is used to make rubber for tyres (source: Goodyear)HOUSTON (ICIS)--Styrolution said on Wednesday that it has declared force majeure on its North American styrene business for August, following a recent shutdown of its 455,000 tonne/year Sarnia styrene plant in Canada.

The Sarnia plant was shut down on 27 July because of a crack in a heat exchanger.

The company said the plant will remain down until the end of October for a scheduled turnaround.

Styrolution’s 485,000 tonne/year Texas City styrene plant in Texas also remains down. The Texas City plant went down in early June, and was expected to undergo four weeks of planned maintenance.

However, the company has delayed the start up of the Texas City plant, and has not announced any plans as to when it may start back up.

Styrolution’s 770,000 tonne/year styrene plant in Bayport, Texas remains online.

Other trade sources have said Styrolution can probably bring the Texas City back up at anytime.  

Overall, market participants have said they were unsure how force majeure will immediately impact the US styrene market.

Some traders have said they wonder if the loss of production will kick start spot trading.

Styrene spot trading has been thin for the past couple of weeks, with most business being done between producers. The lack of activity comes during a seasonal slowdown in the market and little demand for feedstock benzene.

The seasonal slowdown has caused many North American styrene producers to reduce production rates.

No spot trades have been heard during the week as of yet.

Current styrene spot prices are at 70.75-71.25 cents/lb ($1,560-1,571/tonne, €1,264-1,273/tonne) FOB (free on board), no change from 27 July.

Major North American styrene producers include Shell Canada, Styrolution, Americas Styrenics and Total.

($1 = €0.81)

By: Brian Balboa
+1 713 525 2653

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