US ethylene margins gain 1.8% on firmer spot prices

24 September 2012 15:26  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US ethylene margins rose by 1.8% in the third week of September to 49.16 cents/lb ($1,084/tonne, €835/tonne) on firmer ethylene spot prices and lower ethane costs, the ICIS margin report showed on Monday.

Ethane prices averaged 30.95 cents/gal last week, falling by 5% from a week earlier, while ethylene spot prices averaged 58.812 cents/lb, up by 0.4% from the week that ended on 14 September.

Ethylene prices firmed last week amid news that BASF TOTAL had an outage at its Port Arthur cracker in Texas.

The company experienced an instrument failure at a major compressor on 18 September, a spokesperson said, adding that the cracker resumed production on Thursday.

The unit is a joint venture between BASF and Total.

The shutdown at the BASF TOTAL complex came only days before Flint Hills Resources (FHR) was scheduled to take its own Port Arthur cracker down for a planned turnaround.

The 621,000 tonne/year unit, which went down on Friday, is expected to be restarted in the second week of November, FHR said in a filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

September ethylene was last heard traded at 57.50 cents/lb on Friday, while October was bid at 56.250 cents/lb against a 57.875 cent/lb offer.

October ethylene traded in a range of 57.00-58.50 cents/lb last week.

($1 = €0.77)

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By: William Lemos
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