US spot ethylene gains from Williams fire expected to fall soon

21 June 2013 22:10  [Source: ICIS news]

US spot ethylene gains from Williams fire expected to fall soonHOUSTON (ICIS)--US spot ethylene prices for front-month material held on to gains made in the wake of the shutdown at Williams Olefins’ Geismar cracker in Louisiana on 13 June, sources said on Friday.

Following the outage, which was caused by an explosion at the cracker, US spot ethylene for June increased by 6.5 cents/lb ($143/tonne, €109/tonne), with trades done between 59.0-60.0 cents/lb on 14 June.

US spot ethylene traded at 59.25-60.00 cents/lb in the week following the shutdown, keeping prices steady as supply remained tight in the market.

Demand also held steady, sources said, although high prices have led to some talk of buyers retreating and using up available inventories.

However, market sources said three crackers that had been down for scheduled maintenance began the restart process.

Sources said Chevron Phillips Chemical began the restart process at its Port Arthur cracker in Texas, Dow Chemical at its Freeport No. 7 cracker in Texas and Shell Chemical at one of its two Norco No. 1 crackers in Louisiana.

The restart process for the crackers is expected to be completed during the weekend, putting a combined 1.973m tonnes/year of ethylene capacity back on the market.

Sources said the Chevron Phillips and Dow crackers had been down since early April, while Shell’s cracker had been down since early May.

All three crackers were shut down for planned maintenance, sources said.

Traders and buyers said the influx of material should more than outweigh the continued shutdown of the Williams cracker, which has 590,000 tonnes/year of ethylene capacity.

($1 = €0.76)

By: John Dietrich

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