S Korea's Kumho P&B caps Yeosu phenol/acetone run rate at 70-80%

05 November 2012 06:08  [Source: ICIS news]

MELBOURNE (ICIS)--South Korea’s Kumho P&B Chemicals will cap its phenol/acetone plant operating rates at 70-80% capacity because of persistently weak margins, a company source said on Monday.

The company on 1 November restarted its No 2 and No 3 phenol/acetone plants in Yeosu following a planned turnaround.

Kumho has subsequently decided to run both plants at the reduced rate “until margins improve”, because comparatively high costs of feedstock benzene and propylene have continued to put pressure on phenol margins, the source said.

The company’s No 2 phenol/acetone plant has a nameplate capacity of 130,000 tonnes/year of phenol and 80,000 tonnes/year of acetone, while its No 3 phenol/acetone plant can produce 250,000 tonnes/year of phenol and 150,000 tonnes/year of acetone.

The South Korean producer’s No 1 phenol/acetone plant has been idle since early 2009.

Kumho is the third phenol/acetone maker in Asia to implement such a production cutback since September.

Japan’s Mitsui Chemicals on 23 October announced a 50% cut to its contractual phenol/acetone shipments to China during the fourth quarter, following a decision to reduce its Osaka output in November.

Taiwan Prosperity Chemical Corp (TPCC) has capped its phenol/acetone output in Kaohsiung since early September.

By: Trisha Huang

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