US ACN spot prices set to rise amid turnarounds: sources

16 August 2013 15:54  [Source: ICIS news]

US ACN seen rising on short supply amid turnarounds, sourcesHOUSTON (ICIS)--Demand has not changed for US acrylonitrile (ACN), but spot prices are expected to rise by about $100/tonne (€75/tonne) over the next few weeks on tight supply due to turnarounds, sources said on Friday.

The price rise comes at a good time for producers who are dealing with a 5 cent/lb ($110/tonne) rise in the price of key feedstock propylene.

Sources said Unigel Mexico will extend its previously reported shutdown of its 60,000 tonne/year ACN plant in Mexico. The shutdown for plant maintenance began on 12 August and was scheduled to last for 10 days. But sources said this week that the shutdown will last for at least 20 days.

The plant, which is a joint venture between Unigel and Pemex Petroquimica, was shut down for about six weeks earlier this year for routine maintenance and restarted in mid-April. The facility, in the Morelos petrochemical complex in Veracruz, Mexico, began operations in 2009.

The Unigel shutdown will now likely overlap with an INEOS Nitriles turnaround at its Green Lake, Texas, plant that is expected to begin in a week or so and last for up to two weeks, sources said. According to the ICIS Plants and Projects database, the plant produces 545,000 tonnes/year of ACN.

The two shutdowns are expected to reduce supply for a few weeks in late August and early September and cause spot prices to rise by about $100/tonne, sources said.

One producer said it welcomed the price rise to help it cope with the rise in the cost of propylene.

"Without the turnarounds, we couldn't raise prices to counter the rise in propylene," the source said. "The demand is just not there. But this will give us a chance to at least make up some of the margins we're losing on the rise in propylene." 

Major producers of US ACN include Ascend Performance Materials, Cornerstone Energy and INEOS. 

($1 = €0.75)

Author: Mark Yost

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