INEOS has embarked on restarting one of its Chocolate Bayou crackers in Texas, which were downed by lightning on 1 November. Outage at this plant triggered a significant rally in ethylene spot prices, as per ICIS. With two steam crackers in Chocolate Bayou, INEOS has a combined ethylene capacity of 1.8 mln tpa. Olefins 1, with 907,000 tpa ethylene capacity is being restarted. The second cracker is unlikely to restart until mid-December.
The outage at Chocolate Bayou triggered a 27% surge in US ethylene spot prices, which had already been rising as a result of planned and unplanned shutdowns at four other units in prior weeks. Ethylene for November soared to US$1146/ton after the INEOS shutdown, rising from a deal done at 41 cents/lb only a couple of days before the outages. Last week saw additional gains in ethylene on news of an extended outage at a Louisiana cracker. November ethylene traded as high as 53.50 cents/lb on 9 November, its highest level since the last week of April.