Japan's Idemitsu Kosan extends halt on MEK exports

05 December 2013 10:20 Source:ICIS News

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan is extending its halt on methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) exports as it has limited cargoes available even with the recent rise in production, a company source said on Thursday.

Run rates at the company’s 40,000 tonne/year MEK plant at Tokuyama in Yamaguchi prefecture were increased to 80% two weeks ago after running at 55% from end-September, the source said.

The MEK plant has been running at reduced capacity because of a shortage of feedstock butylene (C4), the source said.

No specific timetable was given when Idemitsu Kosan can resume MEK exports, the source said, citing that domestic supply in Japan is tight.

MEK acts as a low-boiling solvent for nitrocellulose, acrylic and vinyl surface coatings, with over half of global demand coming from the paints and coatings industry.

By Angeline Soh