France's Arkema declares FM on chlorine, caustic soda at Jarrie

30 January 2014 16:47 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--France-based speciality chemicals producer Arkema has declared force majeure on chlorine and caustic soda stocks produced at its chloralkali plant in Jarrie, France, on the back of a spate of unexpected technical failures which have hindered the facility's restart, a company source said on Thursday.

The unit's output had restarted over the weekend of 25-26 January but production has since been interrupted because of further technical difficulties. The company source said the plant's restart is likely to be attempted again this evening.

The timeframe for the force majeure on chlorine and caustic soda stocks at the Jarrie site is still unclear although it is believed to be short-term, according to the company source.

The same source suggested that if the Jarrie plant was to run over the weekend and beyond, it was hopeful the force majeure could be lifted by the end of next week.

It added there is minimal impact on European caustic soda contract customers because Arkema had limited its contract business at the start of its maintenance period and customers had been advised in advance to obtain alternative supply sources.

The unit originally went down in October 2013 so that a production technology upgrade could take place. The facility was initially due to resume output in early December, but the restart has been delayed several times since then.

The Jarrie unit produces 74,000 tonnes/year of chlorine and 81,000 dry metric tonnes/year of caustic soda. Caustic soda is a co-product of chlorine in the electrolysis process.

During the plant closure, Arkema will convert the chlorine production in Jarrie from mercury cell to membrane technology for legislative reasons.

By Heidi Finch