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Accident spurs US ethylene; Asia holds steady

Markets, Olefins, US
By John Richardson on 09-Feb-2011

By Malini Hariharan

Spot ethylene prices in the US have moved up following a fire at Enterprise Products natural gas liquids (NGL) complex at Mont Belvieu, Texas, on 8th February.

The complex is said to be among the world’s largest underground storage centres for NGLs.

Pic source: ICIS

Spot ethylene offers rose to 49cents/lb, up from 45.50cents/lb, as market participants expected the fire to disrupt ethane supplies to crackers.

LyondellBasell said that it had reduced the operating rate of its cracker at La Porte, Texas. But the fire had caused only minimal disruptions at the company’s two crackers in Channelview, Texas.

Other companies relying on ethane supplies from Enterprise have yet to cofirm if their operations have been affected.

But Asian ethylene markets saw limited impact from the fire, said ICIS pricing editor Soo Hwee Peh. Prices were holding steady at $1,290-1,320/tonne cfr NEA on limited spot availability from the Middle East amid talk of delays in term shipments from the region.
Upcoming cracker turnarounds were also supporting prices.