LONDON (ICIS)--INEOS Enterprises ceased production of vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) at its plant in Hull, the UK, last week, a company source said on Friday.
The producer had announced on 4 October that it would close its Hull VAM plant with the loss of 18 jobs, saying that low-cost imports and a hostile trading environment made closure inevitable.
The company source confirmed that production was halted on 4 October. The plant has a nameplate capacity of 300,000 tonnes/year.
INEOS explained in its statement that the VAM market has become increasingly targeted by cheap imports, mainly from Saudi Arabia and the US, both of which benefit from low-cost raw materials.
INEOS Enterprises acquired the plant from BP in April 2008. The unit was built in 2002 and was the first plant capable of producing 300,000 tonnes/year in a single train reactor.
Market participants attending the 47th annual European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting in Berlin, which ran from 5-9 October, said on the sidelines of the conference that they expected the closure to have only a limited impact on the European market.
VAM imports will have to increase to compensate for the lost production, sources said, and there could be an effect on prices.
The VAM market has been well supplied throughout 2013, with demand from many downstream sectors being lacklustre.