France's Arkema declares force majeure on oxo-alcohols at Lavera

28 January 2013 16:55  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--France-based specialty chemicals producer Arkema has declared force majeure on oxo-alcohols from its joint venture at Lavera, a company source said on Monday.

The declaration relating to n-butanol (NBA), isobutanol (IBA) and 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) was made on Thursday, 24 January.

It followed problems with feedstock propylene supply after a fire at the Naphtachimie cracker in Lavera, southern France.

“We sent a letter to customers at the end of last week,” said the Arkema source.

Customers were now on allocation, said the source, adding that the force majeure declaration was a preventative measure taken because it was unclear how long the situation with propylene would continue.

Three-quarters of January had been a normal month because the company had inventories and had made agreements with other producers, added the source.

Arkema is a joint venture partner in Oxochimie, along with Switzerland-headquartered INEOS Oxide. The joint venture’s complex at Lavera has a nameplate capacity of 150,000 tonnes/year of 2-EH, 150,000 tonnes/year of NBA and 30,000 tonnes/year of IBA, according to ICIS data.

INEOS Oxide was not available for comment.

Naphtachimie is a joint venture between INEOS and France-headquartered Total.

On 25 January, INEOS said it expected the Naphtachimie cracker would restart during the first half of March.

Damage to the plant reported on 22 December 2012 was relatively localised and repair work is well under way.

Following the restart, the cracker will operate at reduced rates for a period of time until the repair work is fully completed, said INEOS.

The company added that it continued to work with its customers to minimise the impact caused by the closure of the cracker and it had apologised for the disruption to the site’s day-to-day operation. A full investigation into the incident is ongoing.

($1 = €0.74)

By: Glynn Garlick

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