Europe BD market moves into main maintenance season

19 April 2013 13:16  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The European butadiene (BD) market may be about to move into the main extraction unit maintenance season, but there is little expectation that there will be a significant impact on the supply and demand balance, market sources said on Friday.

Demand is soft. BD consumers said that their derivative markets are coming under great pressure from more competitively priced Asian product.

“Our market is not good. We have product entering home turf...there is a huge impact,” a consumer said, adding: “this will go on for a couple more months.”

Another said: “Average Q3 [BD derivative] demand could be less than for the same period last year which was already low.”

The first consumer said: “If they [the producers] want us to consume, they need to make us more competitive."

Sources said that Shell Chemicals BD extraction unit at its site in Moerdijk, Netherlands went into planned shutdown alongside that of its 910,000 tonnes/year ethylene cracker, in March, although this was not directly confirmed by the company.

Restart of this unit will coincide with the planned shutdowns of LyondellBasell’s BD unit at Wesseling in Germany and Versalis’s BD unit at Ravenna in Italy.

LyondellBasell’s 170,000 tonne/year BD unit is due to shut down around 26 April, according to sources. It is expected that its restart sometime in June will include the 40% expansion to 238,000 tonnes/year, which LyondellBasell announced in February 2012.

Versalis’s 140,000 tonne/year unit is due to shutdown on 1 May for 50 days, a company source said, adding that restart would be around 20 June.

The last planned maintenance turnaround to take place in the European spring/summer period will be that of Evonik’s BD unit at Marl, in Germany, for three weeks from mid-June.

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By: Nel Weddle
+44 20 8652 3214

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