Explosion at Polimeri forces shutdown of steam cracker, two PE plants: unlikely to impact supplies

31-Oct-11
An explosion at Polimeri's petrochemicals site in Dunkirk, France has forced shutdown of steam cracker operations and closure of its two polyethylene plants. However, it is not expected to greatly impact PE supplies, as per Platts. Cause of the explosion that occurred on October 21, is being investigated. It led to flaring at the 380,000 tpa capacity cracker, and a shutdown of the 250,000 tpa linear low density and 180,000 tpa LDPE plants, followed by a declaration of force majeure on ethylene and propylene supplies. But, while the PE plants and cracker are now shut down for repairs, force majeure has not been declared on PE supplies. Startup of the cracker and PE plants is expected around mid-November. This will not have a major impact on our PE markets. Polyethylene demand in Europe has been weak, as converters are reluctant to build stock in anticipation of further drops in prices and are tracing the behavior of Chinese converters, industry sources said this week.
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