Price and market trends: US players have MMA turnaround jitters

14 April 2014 00:00 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

Planned spring maintenance among the major US methyl methacrylate (MMA) producers has some customers on edge, but there will be ample supply to get through the temporary production outages even if demand continues to improve, a seller said on 31 March on the sidelines of the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC), run by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM).

“We always build sufficient inventory for this,” the producer said, but allowed that unexpected restart delays could briefly tighten the currently balanced market.

A source close to Dow Chemical said the company’s MMA turnaround at Deer Park, Texas, where it operates a 360,000 tonne/year plant, would be conducted mid-April to mid-May, but other sources at the conference understood that Dow’s facility was already in turnaround. The schedule, however, was not yet confirmed by Dow.

Evonik said its 150,000 tonne/year Fortier, Louisiana, plant will also be down from the end of April until some time in May, and Lucite’s 155,000 tonne/year Memphis, Tennessee, plant is scheduled to be down during May.

Meanwhile, there is mostly optimism about coatings demand for full-year 2014, with forecast year-over-year improvement of 4-6% for the spring coatings season, some sources said, though seasonal demand likely will be delayed by the harsh winter, especially in the US northeast.

By Larry Terry