US styrene prices firm on emerging global production issues

05 June 2014 18:04 Source:ICIS News

US styrene prices firm on emerging global production issuesHOUSTON (ICIS)--US styrene spot prices firmed this week as domestic and foreign production issues emerged, according to trade participants on Thursday.

The increase comes a week after styrene spot prices declined due to easing supply concerns.                                                                                      

Current US June styrene spot prices were said to be at or around the 70 cent/lb ($1,543/tonne) level, up from 68.00-69.50 cents/lb last week.

The increase comes as styrene prices in Europe have firmed following the explosion at Shell’s joint venture styrene monomer (SM)/propylene oxide (PO) plant (MSPO-2) at Moerdijk in the Netherlands late on Tuesday.

The MSPO-2 facility is owned by Ellba, a 50:50 joint venture between Shell Chemicals and BASF. It can produce 550,000 tonnes/year of SM and 250,000 tonnes/year of PO, according to Shell’s website.

In the US, trade sources said on Thursday that one Gulf coast styrene supplier was having operational issues at its facility. No further details on the supplier or the issues were available.

Meanwhile, the Americas Styrenics styrene facility in Saint James, Louisiana is expected to return to normal rates in early June. The facility has been operating at 50% capacity since mid-April as part of a planned turnaround.

The company has not confirmed if the facility, which has a combined nameplate capacity of 950,000 tonnes/year, has returned to normal rates.

By Brian Balboa