LONDON (ICIS)--Kazan Soda Elektrik’s new soda ash plant is currently producing around 6,000 tonnes/day, an official at the Turkish producer said on Wednesday, although full production capacity has now been further delayed until June.
Kazan had forecast the plant would reach its full capacity of 2.5m tonnes/year in December 2017, but that has been pushed back several times.
“The fifth line will be active in May 2018, with full capacity planned for June,” the source at the company said, adding that the four lines already active are running at full capacity.
Last month, a company official confirmed that the majority of newly produced Turkish soda ash is headed for export markets rather than the European market, verifying the feelings of market participants who had yet to notice a major impact on Europe’s soda ash supply.
The majority of European soda ash business is carried out under annual contracts, which are usually settled at the beginning of the year.
In 2018, Europe’s soda ash prices softened, marking the first change in two years.
This came amid expectations of more abundant supply in Europe due to the new capacity coming online in 2018.
Despite this new capacity, at present the supply situation in Europe is described as balanced to short, with multiple sources saying all material is contracted with little left over for offering on the spot market or to fulfil additional demand.
Strong and growing demand across all end sectors including flat glass, container glass, detergent and chemicals is leading to this tightness, sources say.
Although most of the newly produced soda ash originating from Kazan seems to be headed for export markets, the most recent data from Eurostat showed a 9% drop in exports leaving the region in February 2018 compared to the same month of last year.