South Korea’s GS Caltex shuts Yeosu TDP unit on poor margins

07 February 2014 10:21 Source:ICIS News

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--South Korea’s GS Caltex shut its toluene disproportionation (TDP) unit in Yeosu since beginning of February because of poor margins, a company source said on Friday.

The TDP plant was previously shut for the same reason late last year and was restarted in November 2013, the source said.

“Although the benzene-toluene spread is wide, the spread between mixed xylene (MX) and paraxylene (PX) is small,” the source said.

Spot price difference between benzene and toluene was at least $200/tonne – almost double   the breakeven point of $100-120/tonne, market players said.

But the MX-PX spread remained below $200/tonne – a level insufficient for producers to break even, they said.

GS Caltex has two reformers, three paraxylene (PX) units, and a selective TDP (STDP) unit at the Yeosu site. The site has a total benzene production capacity of 900,000 tonnes/year.

By Ong Sheau Ling