Ashland expects no immediate impact on US BDO from Europe force majeure

15 August 2017 17:39 Source:ICIS News

Williams stops ethylene productionHOUSTON (ICIS)--Ashland expects the force majeure it declared last week on butanediol (BDO) and other chemicals in Europe to have no immediate impact on its US BDO business, a source close to the company said on Tuesday.

“None right now,” the source said, adding that no restart date has been determined yet for the plant in Marl, Germany.

There has been talk in the US market of American producers shipping material to Europe to help Ashland serve customers there, but a buyer in the US said that would be unlikely, and not just because supply has been tight recently in the US.

“It takes four weeks to get it to Europe,” the buyer said, referring to waterborne shipments. “Unless you’re going to put isotanks on a C-130 (cargo plane), you’re not going to get it there soon enough. Shipping it from the US is not going to help them this week or next.”

Production at Ashland’s plant in Germany has been suspended while authorities conduct an investigation into the cause and extent of the fire.

As a result, the Marl plant – which has BDO capacity of 100,000 tonnes/year – is currently unable to make any BDO, tetrahydrofuran (THF) or formaldehyde. Ashland said availability of product from that plant has been "significantly reduced".

Major US BDO producers include Ashland, BASF, LyondellBasell and INVISTA.

By Lane Kelley