HOUSTON (ICIS)--US acrylonitrile (ACN) domestic and spot prices are continuing to trend upwards heading into this year’s International Petrochemical Conference (IPC) amid tightening supply and rising feedstock values.
US ACN prices have been moving higher since the beginning of the year, reversing the downward trend seen in the fourth quarter of 2016, when feedstock propylene prices fell.
As propylene prices began to rapidly rise in early 2017, ACN prices reacted accordingly, rising several hundred dollars per tonne.
Sources have indicated that tightening global supply and limited availability of product has also contributed to rising ACN prices throughout the first quarter.
US producer INEOS Nitriles declared force majeure at its 545,000 tonne/year Green Lake, Texas facility in July last year, after it was discovered that the main feedstock propylene pipeline had been compromised by flooding.
While the facility officially lifted the force majeure in February, supply has remained tight throughout the first quarter, as US producers turned their attention to building inventories ahead of a heavy turnaround season in Q2 2017.
Major US producers INEOS Nitriles, Ascend Performance Materials and Cornerstone Chemical have all scheduled turnarounds during the second quarter.
Supply tightness has also been compounded by several planned and unplanned outages in the global market.
Notably, INEOS Nitriles recently announced force majeure at its 280,000 tonne/year Seal Sands, UK facility, which is expected to place further pressure on the global market.
Meanwhile, domestic demand for ACN has remained strong, driven by supply-side constraints and growth in various downstream sectors.
Sources said that downstream consumption of ACN in markets such as acrylamide, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and specialty chemicals is particularly strong at the moment.
Sponsored by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the IPC runs 26-28 March in San Antonio.