Europe LDPE buyers wait for confirmation of SABIC start-up

14 July 2014 16:44 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Low density polyethylene (LDPE) buyers in Europe are waiting to hear whether SABIC’s delayed 400,000 tonne/year plant in Wilton, UK, is fully back on stream following a planned maintenance outage, sources said on Monday.

On Friday 11 July in the late afternoon, several buyers Europe-wide said they had been informed that the plant had started, but by Monday there was no confirmation of this.

On Monday a SABIC company source declined to comment on the status of the LDPE plant, but the company did confirm that the cracker at Wilton was back online after experiencing some difficulties restarting following the planned maintenance.

LDPE buyers have been nervously awaiting the start-up of the LDPE plant, particularly in the UK, where they have been bearing the brunt of the outage. Spot sellers are not overrun with enquiries, however, although 0.3 melt index is particularly tight.

A couple of major producers have already stopped fresh sales of LDPE for July, and SABIC declared force majeure on LDPE sales on 8 July, following problems at Geleen  in the Netherlands and Wilton.

Spot LDPE prices have risen to €1,360-1,380/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), with some odd sales in the UK done above €1,400/tonne.

Several buyers are looking upstream to the naphtha and crude markets, where prices are slipping. PE sources expect the ethylene contract price to fall in August, based on lower feedstock costs.

Demand is also expected to slow down for summer, as holidays take hold, and many LDPE buyers are caught between the concern of  not being able to get hold of enough volume, and having too much, if lower naphtha prices affect PE pricing in August.

LDPE is used in film packaging and agricultural applications.


By Linda Naylor