UK storm warning adds to Lucite logistics issues

23 December 2013 12:57 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Major European methyl methacrylate (MMA) producer Lucite International has been hit by further delays to its purchases of acetone, a company source said on Monday.

Lucite was due to restart ship deliveries of acetone today. But due to further storm warnings across the UK, the inbound vessel has been unable to come up river in Teeside, northeast England. The vessel is now expected to arrive on 25 December.

Lucite’s difficulties started on 5 December when heavy flooding caused by a tidal surge in the North Sea closed the receiving Riverside terminal in Teeside. The terminal is owned and operated by Simon Storage.

Lucite have continued to produce MMA using existing stocks of intermediate acetone cyanohydrin (ACH).

“We have not had to let any customer down,” said the source.

Meanwhile, the closure of Riverside has had strong effects on the UK market for acetone. Simon Storage put out a press release last week with the following statement: “At Riverside, which suffered with greater flooding, we have recommenced jetty and pipeline operations and are working to resume road loading operations as soon as possible.”

The shortage of acetone is having an impact on the UK market and is pushing up domestic prices 

European acetone spot prices have also been under upward pressure, as many market participants expect shortage of product in January. Spot prices are assessed at €850-880/tonne ($1,164-1,205/tonne) free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE).

($1 = €0.73)

By Rhian O'Connor