US Celanese to conduct several turnarounds in 2018

Source: ICIS News


HOUSTON (ICIS)--Celanese has six different maintenance turnarounds scheduled this year at its chemical plants, each one costing $10m-15m, the top executive at the US-based acetyls producer said on Tuesday.

In an earnings conference call, Celanese chairman and CEO Mark Rohr did not specify when or where the planned maintenances would occur, though he did say “a couple would be coming up in May”.

The total cost could run $60m-90m, but Rohr said it would have little impact on earnings. “Long-term, they don’t really affect the numbers,” Rohr added.

Celanese posted Q1 net income this week of $363m, nearly doubling from $183m in the same period of 2017. Much of the gain came from from higher acetic acid and derivative prices globally, especially in China, the company said.

But Rohr dismissed the notion that historically cheap US ethylene, which is a major feedstock for vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) and other products made by Celanese, might have played a role in the near-doubling of quarterly profits.

Front-month US spot ethylene traded at its lowest point since March 2002 in the past week, but Rohr said the company buys ethylene in every global region.

“We don’t see a lot of spot impact from that in the US,” Rohr said.

Rohr said in a previous conference call that Celanese might build a second US methanol plant, but he did not want to dwell on that possibility in the latest call.

“It doesn’t hit the priority level of what we’re doing right now,” Rohr said.