S Korea’s LG Chem may delay start-up of new IPA plant to end-2012

10 September 2012 04:32  [Source: ICIS news]

IPA applications include paints and coatings SINGAPORE (ICIS)--South Korea’s LG Chem may start up its 50,000 tonne/year isopropanol (IPA) line in Yeosu at the end of the year, a source close to the company said on Monday.

The acetone-to-IPA facility was originally due to come on stream in early November but the start-up schedule has been delayed, possibly by one to one-and-a-half months because of an “unexpected factor”, the source said without giving further details.

LG Chem, the largest IPA producer in South Korea, currently operates a 45,000 tonne/year propylene-based unit, and another 55,000 tonne/year acetone-based facility at the same site in Yeosu.

IPA prices in southeast Asia have been going up sharply amid tight supply on the back of several plant shutdowns but the situation is expected to improve by the second half of October as two regional facilities would have completed their maintenance by then.

JX Nippon Oil & Energy plans to resume operation at its 85,000 tonne/year plant at Kawasaki in end-September after about 50 days of maintenance, while Shell Chemicals is likely to complete a month-long turnaround at its 75,000 tonne/year facility in Singapore in mid-October.

“We are worried that prices will fall once these plants return to normal production as demand in China is still very weak,” a buyer in southeast Asia said.

Spot prices rose by $15/tonne (€11.7/tonne) to $1,355-1,380/tonne CFR (cost and freight) SE (southeast) Asia during the week ended 7 September, according to ICIS

($1 = €0.78)

By: Yeow Pei Lin

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