Arkema's Jarrie chlor-alkali plant in restart phase after repairs

13 February 2014 15:46 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Arkema’s chlor-alkali facility at Jarrie in France is in restart phase, following some longer-than-expected downtime this week so repair work could be carried out, said the specialty chemicals producer on Thursday.

“It hopes [for the unit] to be back up either today or tomorrow," said a company source.

The force majeure (FM), which started at the end of January, on chlorine and caustic soda manufactured at the site has been extended until at least the end of next week. The company had said that the FM was likely to be in place until at least the end of this week.

The chlor-alkali plant at Jarrie went down on Monday for repairs. The downtime was originally expected to last one day, but has taken longer than anticipated because of additional repair requirements and technical difficulties.  

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

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 shutdown, Arkema will convert the chlorine production in Jarrie from mercury cell to membrane technology for legal reasons.

Caustic soda market players said they had not seen any adverse effects on availability in southern France despite Arkema’s output and supply constraints, suggesting that merchant quantities involved were limited relative to main players in the region and were therefore being sufficiently covered by them.

By Heidi Finch