Repsol's Puertollano PO/SM plant in unplanned outage

Author: Philippa Davies


LONDON (ICIS news)--Repsol’s Puertollano, propylene oxide/styrene monomer (PO/SM) plant was shut on Friday and will be down for five to seven days due to technical problems, adding to an already tight supply situation, a company official said on Monday.

The plant, which has 160,000 tonne/year of SM and 70,000-75,000/tonne of PO capacity, went into an unplanned outage on Friday evening in a development which will also affect propylene glycol (PG) and polyols output at Puertollano.

Force majeure has not been declared on either styrene or PO, but if the outage lasts more than the expected one week, some form of sales control on styrene may be necessary, the official said. On PO, swaps may be possible, but on styrene, other producers have no prompt availability, he said.

Downstream, 22,000 tonne/year of propylene glycol and 50,000 tonne/year of polyols will be affected, but details were not yet available. Production at one of the units will have to be reduced due to a lack of feedstock, the official said.

"This is the worst moment for us because we already have a planned shutdown at Tarragona," the official said.

The company’s Tarragona, Spain PO/SM plant went into a one-month maintenance turnaround on 1-2 October as planned, a company official said on Thursday.

The outage is the first stage of a revamping that will be completed in June or July 2006 and will add 50,000 tonne/year of PO and 120,000 tonne/year of SM capacity. The unit currently has a capacity of 150,000 tonne/year of PO and 340,000 tonne/year of styrene, the official confirmed.

The outage came at a bad time for Europe when production problems were rife. The restart of BASF’s 500,000 tonne/year styrene unit at Antwerp, Belgium was delayed a further 10 days, a source said last week. Styrene output was also expected to be compromised at Moerdijk, Netherlands, where a force majeure was declared on olefins on Friday, traders said.