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European polyolefins market gearing up for turnarounds

  • 09/02/2016 (02:12)
The European polyolefins markets registered new decreases in February due to ongoing downward pressure from lower feedstock costs. No problems in terms of availability have been reported so far, but a number of planned maintenance shutdowns at some PP and PE plants across Europe starting from February caused many players to consider the possibility of a reduction in supply for the upcoming month.

Versalis’ force majeure on LDPE output from their Ragusa plant in Italy remains in place. The force majeure was declared due to a fire on January 7. The Ragusa plant has nameplate capacity of 165,000 tons year. Of this capacity, LDPE production accounts for 150,000 tons/year while the remainder is dedicated to EVA production.

A West European producer is giving offers for their February PE contracts with decreases of €60-70/ton while conceding to larger reductions in the spot market. A producer source commented, “We don’t anticipate a reversal in trend this month. However, we have already sold out our HDPE injection allocation and our supply is dwindling. Therefore, we think that an upturn is possible for the March and April period given some planned turnarounds in Europe.”

Unipetrol’s Litvinov complex is expected to be taken offline as of mid-March for a 39-day turnaround. The cracker at the site has been offline since August 2015 following an explosion while the company has a capacity to produce 320,000 tons/year of HDPE and 290,000 tons/year of PP at the same complex.

LyondellBasell is also expected to shut their LDPE and PP units at Berre, France simultaneously with their cracker for maintenance in March. The PP unit has a capacity of over 300,000 tons/year and the LDPE unit has a capacity of 320,000 tons/year. Market sources had reported earlier that the company would also shut their LDPE plant at Aubette by the end of March for a 45-day turnaround.

Dutch producer Ducor Petrochemicals is planning to start a maintenance at their PP plant in Rozenburg, the Netherlands in the first half of this month. One out of the three PP lines at the 180,000 tons/year plant is expected to remain offline for less than a week.

Ineos is planning to conduct a planned turnaround at their polyolefins plants in Belgium in the April-May period. The company operates a 90,000 tons/year PP and a 440,000 tons/year of HDPE plant at Lillo in addition to a 300,000 tons/year of PP plant at Geel.
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