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Turnaround season set to get underway in Asia

by Pınar Polat -
  • 17/02/2021 (09:59)
A turnaround season in the Asian PVC market is set to kick off towards late February, mostly lasting until late April. As for PP and PE, a series of shutdowns are also ahead, which will disrupt supplies during the same period.

More than 2 million tons/year of PVC readying to come offline

Starting from late February, at least six Asian producers are planning to conduct maintenance shutdowns at their PVC plants, totaling more than 2 million tons/year of capacity.

China’s Tosoh Guangzhou and Japan’s Taiyo Vinyl will shut their PVC plants with respective capacities of 220,000 tons/year and 330,000 tons/year by late February.

The turnaround season for PVC will intensify in the March-April period, with some major Asian producers shutting down their plants for maintenance.

Taiwan’s Formosa and India’s Reliance will take their respective plants offline in March, with a total 940,000 tons/year of PVC capacity idled during that period. This will be followed by another turnaround of Taiwan’s Formosa at its 450,000 tons/year plant and South Korea’s LG Chem’s 280,000 tons/year plant in April.

The abovementioned maintenance shutdowns are expected to nourish the ongoing supply limitations across Asia, which have been keeping the PVC markets largely on a firm footing since June 2020.

Production News

PP, PE markets poised to face more supply interruption

In China, 450,000 tons/year PP capacity will be absent from the market due to Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical’s week-long maintenance work in mid-April.

PP plants of India’s HPCL Mittal Energy and Thailand’s IRPC had been through shutdowns in January, meanwhile.

Adding to this, Malaysia’s Pengerang PC’s Johor complex has also been offline due to a fire since March 2020 and the restart is delayed to April 2021, meaning the ongoing absence of 900,000 tons/year PP, 400,000 tons/year HDPE and 350,000 tons/year LLDPE capacity.

China seems to be the host for several HDPE shutdowns. Apart from the one started at Sichuan PC’s 300,000 tons/year plant in January and has still been ongoing; there is also Fushun PC’s planned maintenance work at the company’s total 465,000 tons/year capacity HDPE plants in April. The same company is also planning to shut its LLDPE unit during the same period.

Southeast Asia and India PE markets had also started the year with maintenance shutdowns at Indian Oil and PTT Chemical’s HDPE plants. Nowadays, Thai PTT Polyethylene’s nearly a month-long maintenance shutdown at its LDPE plant in April is awaited.

China and Southeast Asia polyolefin markets have already been facing supply limitations. Considering these plant shutdowns in Asia, coupled with the ones in the Middle-East, sellers’ lack of sales pressure is likely to provide a ballast to the post-Chinese New Year period, market players commented.
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