France's Total to close 70,000 tonne/year HDPE line at Antwerp

Author: Linda Naylor


LONDON (ICIS)--The capacity of Total Petrochemicals’ high density polyethylene (HDPE) line to close in 2014 at Antwerp, Belgium, is 70,000 tonnes/year, a company source confirmed on Tuesday.

Total announced the closure of the polyethylene (PE) line – the company’s “smallest and oldest” at the site - last week as part of a modernisation programme.

Two weeks ago Netherlands-headquartered LyondellBasell said it plans to shut down a 100,000 tonne/year HDPE unit in Wesseling, Germany in the third quarter of 2013, while US-headquartered Dow Chemical closed its 190,000 tonne/year HDPE plant at Tessenderlo, Belgium at the end of 2012.

Buyers have not shown much concern over the closure of these plants, as they expect ample material from the Middle East to cover their needs. PE production in Europe is estimated to be cut by as much as 30% at present to accommodate poor demand.

PE spot prices have surged during the second half of May as buyers have returned to the market to buying at what they perceive to be the bottom of the current price cycle.

HDPE prices have surged to €1,300/tonne ($1,688/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), from a low in the mid-€1,100s/tonne FD NWE in early May.

HDPE is used widely in the manufacture of household goods, packaging and film production.

($1 = €0.77)