Venezuela PS production down, shortages loom

14 March 2014 20:04 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Estizulia, the only domestic producer of polystyrene (PS) resins in Venezuela, has been stopped for more than three weeks and it is currently waiting to get raw materials for the restart, domestic sources said on Friday.

The shutdown had been reported earlier, attributed to undisclosed equipment failure, but the failure to restart is now said to be caused by a lack of raw materials.

Pequiven has been supplying Estizulia with styrene monomer (SM) and butadiene rubber (BR) in the past few years, as a way to spare the producer from going through the slow procedure of securing a certificate of no production (CNP) and the consequent dollars to realise the importation.

In past years, more than once, Estizulia has been forced to stop operations because of delayed shipments of raw materials or other logistic inconveniences.

Transformers do not have a timetable for the restart of the plant, and they are trying to make contingency plans to keep markets supplied.

However, most of them only have PS resin stocks for a few more weeks before they run out.

This could bring acute shortages in the food market, as food-packaging materials are slowly depleted. 

Alternative methods to get plastic resins require an import permit from CADIVI, the government agency that control imports and allocates dollars.

The population is already facing shortages of basic household items such as soaps and toothpaste.

Estizulia sources were not immediately available for comments on the plant situation.

By George Martin