LONDON (ICIS)--Kazan Soda Elektrik’s new 2.5m tonne/year soda ash plant will be fully active by March, slightly later than originally planned, a source at the Turkish company said on Tuesday.
"We have two lines fully active, and we switched a third on last week. The fourth will be on stream by the end of this month and the fifth by late January or early February,” said the source.
“We hope to reach full capacity by March.”
It added that all of its 2018 contracts had been settled, with all of the plant's prospective production for 2018 sold out.
On 15 November, the company said the plant would be fully active by December, but on 21 November it delayed the date again, to early 2018.
It was not immediately clear whether material from the plant has reached the market yet, with conflicting feedback from market players on this point.
By adding up to 2.5m tonnes/year of soda ash to the global market, Europe's production of the key glass feedstock will increase by around 25%.
The potential influx of new material has been the talking point of negotiations for 2018 European annual contract prices, which are expected to soften marginally to reflect more supply of soda ash in the region following the tightness prevalent throughout 2017.
However, the fact that the new Turkish material is sold out could spell a similarly tight landscape for the year to come.
The impact of extra product being available could be mitigated by strong and growing demand from sectors such as flat glass, and the automotive sector, both of which are boosted by the current positive trends seen in Europe's economies.
Eurostat data released this week showed increases on the import front in the European soda ash market, reflecting very healthy demand described by market players.
Pictures source: Kazan Soda Elektrik