Europe Priolo LLDPE closed, as planned

25 September 2013 12:34  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Italian polyethylene (PE) producer Versalis has closed its linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) production at Priolo, Italy, as planned, a company source said on Wednesday.

The plant had a nominal capacity of 150,000 tonnes/year. Provision has been made for buyers to be able to be supplied from the site until the end of the year and even beyond.

Eni’s 150,000 tonne/year Gela low density polyethylene (LDPE) unit, marketed by Eni subsidiary Versalis, is also expected to close, but no date for its closure has been given.

Other polyethylene (PE) plants are slated for closure in Europe in 2013/2014, mostly high density polyethylene (HDPE) units.

Several PE closures are taking place in Europe in 2013-2014.

Dow

HDPE

Tessenderlo, Belgium

190kt

Closed

End 2012

LBI

HDPE

Wesseling, Germany

100kt

To close

Q3 2013

Versalis

LLDPE

Priolo, Italy

150kt

Closed

Sep 2013

Total

HDPE

Antwerp, Belgium

70kt

To close

2014

Eni

LDPE

Gela, Italy

150kt

To close

Not given

Borealis

HDPE

Burghausen, Germany

175kt

To close

End 2014

Closures of older, non-profitable European plants are being made in the face of increasing competition from low-cost producers in the Middle East, and increasingly from the US, as shale gas development increases.

Late in 2012  Saudi Polymers Company (SPCo) brought on stream its new cracker and HDPE plants, in Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia. The two HDPE units at the site have an annual capacity of over 1m tonnes, and buyers in Europe have been able to negotiate regular contracts with the company, a joint-venture partnership between Chevron Phillips and Saudi Arabia's National Petrochemical (Petrochem).

Borouge 3, due on stream in 2014, is expected to have more of an impact on the polypropylene (PP) market in Europe, but PE is also planned to come from the huge new site.

Located in Ruwais, Abu Dhabi, Borouge 3 will raise Borouge’s olefins and polyolefins capacity to around 4.5m tonnes/year from the current 2m tonnes/year. The project includes construction of a third ethane cracker, two additional Borstar PE plants, two additional Borstar PP plants and a low density polyethylene (LDPE) unit.

LDPE and LLDPE prices have increased in September, in line with the €50/tonne increase in the September ethylene contract price, but this week lower spot offers have been heard in parts of Europe as naphtha prices have slipped.

LDPE spot prices hit highs above €1,400/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) but levels of €1,300/tonne FD NWE were now heard, if not confirmed.

Similarly LLDPE spot prices have been heard much lower than their high of around €1,360-1,370/tonne FD NWE in late August, early September, when a US-led strike against Syria looked likely, giving a boost to naphtha prices.

($1 = €0.74)


By: Linda Naylor
+44 20 8652 3214



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