21 February 2013 11:50 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--LyondellBasell has declared force majeure on propylene in March and April as it carries out an unplanned shutdown at its Munchsmunster cracker in Germany because of technical problems, according to company correspondence seen by ICIS on Thursday.
The cracker has suffered significant fouling that requires “urgent and unavoidable repairs” which will take place in the second half of March and last for around four weeks.
This outage will impact its ability to supply propylene during the second half of March and the first half of April, the company’s letter said.
As a result, the allocation for propylene is estimated to be around 60% of the nominal contract quantity in March and 70% for April. This may vary, however, depending on customer.
Market sources suggest that the supply allocations may also be in place for ethylene because of the Munchsmunster cracker problems, but this has not been officially confirmed.
The European propylene market has been balanced to tight, particularly for prompt, during February because of preparation for forthcoming cracker turnarounds in Europe, as well as some cracker reliability issues.
However, any possible output limitations is being weighed against demand, which remains fragile, particularly in the main downstream polymer sector, for economic reasons.
The Munchsmunster cracker has the nameplate capacity of 340,000 tonnes/year for ethylene and 170,000 tonnes/year for propylene, according to the ICIS plants and projects database.
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