LyondellBasell Texas VAM plant going down for maintenance in October

14 August 2014 17:43 Source:ICIS News

LyondellBasell Texas VAM plant doing down for maintenance in OctoberHOUSTON (ICIS)--LyondellBasell's Texas vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) plant will be going down for a maintenance turnaround in October, sources said on Thursday.

The turnaround at LyondellBasell's 385,000 tonnes/year unit in La Porte will last for two to five weeks and follow turnarounds by producers Celanese and Kuraray, sources said.

Sources did not know the exact start date of the LyondellBasell maintenance.

Celanese and Kuraray have VAM turnarounds scheduled for September, according to sources close to those producers. Specific start dates were also unknown for those turnarounds.

VAM buyers and other industry sources confirmed the plant maintenances. Some producers have policies of not confirming or denying plant maintenance schedules.

A buyer said that LyondellBasell would probably not lift its force majeure on VAM before the turnaround. The company declared force majeure in March because of an unplanned mechanical breakdown of a compressor.

US VAM supply has tightened considerably this year because of plant closures in Europe in late 2013 and unplanned American plant outages this year. Two other producers, Dow and Kuraray, also remain under force majeure. Kuraray bought DuPont's US VAM operations earlier this year.

Spot FOB VAM prices have essentially doubled for some buyers this year, jumping from about $1,000/tonne in early January to more than $2,000/tonne for some, especially smaller customers in Latin America.

But the most popular spot price level, for medium-to-larger customers not on contract, remains at $1,700-$1,900/tonne.

Major US VAM producers include Celanese, LyondellBasell, Kuraray and Dow.

By Lane Kelley