Europe April EO contracts down €12/tonne with upstream ethylene

04 April 2014 23:59 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--European ethylene oxide (EO) contract prices for April fell €12/tonne from March, in line with weaker upstream ethylene market, sources said on Friday.

ICIS has calculated the April EO prices to be €1,299-1,466/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), and €1,354-1,511/tonne FD Mediterranean.

The vast majority of business is transacted on a formula to ethylene representing 80-85% of the change in the ethylene price. An average value of 82% is used for price assessments.

Ethylene dropped by €15/tonne to €1,165/tonne FD NWE.

Demand for EO is improving, particularly as warmer weather spurs the construction industry into action.

Availability is curtailed due to the shutdown season, which is impacting on customers’ quest for product.

“It is quite hectic for the EO market because different producers are down in May and June,” a producer said.

INEOS Oxide‘s 290,000 tonne/year EO plant in Cologne, Germany, will remain shut until the second week of April. Its site in Antwerp, Belgium that can produce 420,000 tonnes/year of EO and 290,000 tonnes/year of ethylene glycol (EG) plant is due to go down from end-April until mid-June for a catalyst change and mandatory maintenance.

BASF’s 500,000 tonne/year EO unit and 350,000 tonne/year EG plant in Antwerp, Belgium will be down for three weeks of catalyst change and maintenance in May. Shell will have a longer outage around the same time at its 305,000 tonne/year EO and EG plant in Moerdijk, the Netherlands, market players said.

In September and October, BASF will have a similar shutdown at its 345,000 tonne/year EO unit and 25,000 tonne/year EG unit in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

Polski Koncern Naftowy Orlen SA (PKN) in Plock, Poland, will have a shutdown from 9-30 September at its 115,000 tonne/year EO and 84,000 tonne/year EG plants in Plock, Poland.

Clariant’s site in Gendorf, Germany, is scheduled to have a minor outage on a reactor in May that will not affect market conditions. A longer shutdown is expected to take place in September, however.

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By Caroline Murray