S Korea's Lotte Chemical boosts run rate at Ulsan OX unit to 80%

09 April 2013 10:47  [Source: ICIS news]

SEOUL (ICIS)- South Korea’s Lotte Chemical has been running its 250,000 tonne/year orthoxylene (OX) facility in Ulsan this month at 80% of capacity, up from 73% previously, on the back of better margins, a company source said on Tuesday.

The OX facility comprises of two production lines: one with 190,000 tonnes/year of capacity and the other able to produce 60,000 tonnes/year of the material, according to ICIS data.

“Declines in feedstock isomer-grade xylene and co-product paraxylene (PX) has resulted in better OX margins so we have increased production of OX by 7%,” he added.

Isomer-grade xylene prices were at $1,185-1,203/tonne (€912-926/tonne) FOB Korea while PX was assessed at $1,460-1,465/tonne FOB Korea as of 8 April.

OX has been in short supply since mid-2012 as most producers in Asia were focusing production on the more lucrative co-product PX, thereby reducing the ratio of OX being produced.

“The market is fundamentally short on OX supply and we wanted to provide cargoes to players in the spot market,” the company source added. 

Lotte Chemical sold an April loading cargo at $1,510/tonne CFR China early last week but this could not be confirmed, according to market sources.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Hazel Kumari
+65 6780 4327

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