18 January 2013 22:34 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--BASF TOTAL Petrochemicals shut down its Port Arthur cracker in Texas on Friday for planned maintenance, the company said.
The 934,000 tonne/year cracker will be off line for 2-3 weeks, a company spokesperson said.
The unit is a joint venture between BASF and Total.
News of the shutdown could lend further support to the price of ethylene, which has risen sharply in the past few weeks on the back of planned maintenance and unexpected shutdowns.
Ethylene for January delivery traded this week at 64.25-66.75 cents/lb ($1,416-1,472/tonne, €1,062-1,104/tonne), up from deals done at 50.75-52.50 cents/lb in the first week of December.
The turnaround has put additional upward pressure on the benzene market this week.
US benzene spot prices have rebounded this week, following the upward trend from Europe and Asia.
Market participants also attributed the increase to stronger downstream styrene demand, as well as talk about upcoming turnarounds in the US.
Current benzene spot prices were discussed at $4.95-5.01/gal DDP (duty, delivered paid), up from $4.87-4.95/gal DDP the previous day.
Benzene spot prices had seen the $5.00/gal mark since the first week of January.
Additional reporting by Brian Balboa
($1 = €0.75)
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