UpdateShell to shut Singapore IPA plant for maintenance in Sept

30 August 2012 08:42  [Source: ICIS news]

(adds Shell's comments in paragraphs 4-5)

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Shell Chemicals will shut its 75,000 tonne/year isopropanol (IPA) plant on Pulau Bukom in Singapore from mid-September for about a month of maintenance, its customers said on Thursday.  

The shutdown will worsen the current product shortages and boost spot prices in Asia, said market players.

“Shell is putting its customers on allocation in September and October. We are trying to cover our requirements from alternative sources but it is difficult to get offers," a buyer in southeast Asia said.

A Shell spokesperson said: “It is our policy not to discuss maintenance schedules."

“Equipment maintenance is planned well in advance, regularly reviewed and coordinated with our needs to supply customers and to keep our equipment running in a safe manner,” the spokesperson added.

Supplies in Asia have tightened since August because of an ongoing 50-day shutdown at Japanese producer JX Nippon Oil & Energy’s 85,000 tonne/year Kawasaki facility, which is scheduled to restart in early October, as well as reduced operating rates at several facilities in northeast Asia.

“With IPA prices going up and margins improving, hopefully some producers will increase their production rates next month,’’ a trader said.

IPA spot prices were at $1,310-1,330/tonne (€1,048-1,064/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) SE (southeast) Asia during the week ended 24 August, up by $70/tonne from levels a month ago, according to ICIS pricing data.

($1 = €0.80)

With additional reporting by Pearl Bantillo

By: Yeow Pei Lin

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