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Tight supply continues to drive spot propylene higher in Asia, Europe

by ChemOrbis Editorial Team -
  • 13/09/2016 (03:34)
Spot propylene prices in Asia and Europe have sustained their firming trend for over a month. The prevailing tightness in availability from both regions was cited as the main driver behind these consecutive increases.

In Asia, spot propylene prices climbed further by $20/ton on a CFR China basis week over week while suggesting a larger gain of over $30/ton on an FOB South Korea basis. The ongoing firming trend of Asian propylene was attributed to limited availability as the turnaround season exacerbated the tightness while spot demand was considered to be strong, according to players.

Japan’s JX Nippon Oil and Energy’s upstream units at Kawasaki are currently undergoing planned maintenance. The steam cracker, which has a propylene capacity of 260,000 tons/year, will be restarted on September 28 while the 140,000 tons/year olefins conversion unit at the same site will remain offline until mid-October. Sinopec Sabic Tianjin Petrochemical’s 1 million tons/year cracker in China is also offline for maintenance. The cracker’s restart is slated for late September.

Idemitsu Kosan was expected to shut their Tokuyama cracker in Japan for maintenance on September 10. The cracker has a propylene capacity of 450,000 tons/year and it will remain offline until late October. SK Energy’s Ulsan cracker in South Korea is also scheduled to be shut on September 17, market sources reported. The cracker, which has a propylene capacity of 360,000 tons/year, will remain offline until the second half of October.

Spot propylene prices in Europe also continued to gain ground for another week on the back of the persisting tightness, with prices climbing by €10/ton as of the end of last week. As a result, the current spot levels are standing at a year high level on average, according to ChemOrbis Price Wizard.

BP Refining and Petrochemicals reportedly shut one of its crackers in Gelsenkirchen, Germany for 6-7 week long turnaround. LyondellBasell was also expected to shut a cracker at Wesseling, Germany for maintenance within September. Versalis shut its Dunkirk cracker in France for a scheduled turnaround earlier this month. The shutdown is expected to last for two months.
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