LONG BEACH (ICIS)--The US produced 683,000 tonnes of sulphur via oil and gas processing in February, according to preliminary numbers provided by the US Geological Survey on Thursday.
Total production was up from 617,000 tonnes in February 2013. Shipments also rose to 682,000 tonnes in February 2014 from 621,000 tonnes in February 2013.
Sulphur production from petroleum totalled about 602,000 tonnes, while production from natural gas was about 82,000 tonnes.
Sulphur stocks were 134,000 tonnes at the end of February 2014, up from 129,000 tonnes at the end of January. Sulphur stocks for January were revised down from 134,000 tonnes
Sulphur production in January was revised down to 758,000 tonnes from 763,000 tonnes, and shipments were revised to 791,000 tonnes from 792,000 tonnes. Both production and shipments fell month on month.
Production for 2014 through February was 1.3m tonnes, up from 1.1m tonnes in the same period last year.
The US sulphur market is well supplied, and spot prices are heard in the $135-140/tonne FOB (free on board) range in the US Gulf (USG) following the recent Tampa contract settlement at $133/long ton DEL (delivered) at The Sulphur Institute Sulphur Symposium in Long Beach, California.
The settlement increased by $23/long ton from the first quarter due to the discrepancy between the Tampa price and international market prices.
Reactions were mixed among market participants at the symposium, with some sources expressing surprise that the price did not increase more to reflect international price levels, while others believed that the recent downwards direction of the international market should have been reflected in the settlement.
However, price levels are still significantly lower in the US even after the Q2 increase, with the lowest price for a Middle Eastern producer being Qatar’s Tasweeq at $153/tonne FOB (free on board) for April.