Indonesia's SMI advances maintenance turnaround at styrene monomer plant in Merak

25-May-10
Weighed down by persistent anxiety over Europe’s debt crisis and doubts over the recovery of the US economy, styrene monomer FOB Korea prices were assessed at US$1069/MT falling by 13.2% in just a week. Styrindo Mono Indonesia (SMI) has brought forward a maintenance turnaround at its 100,000 tpa No. 1 styrene monomer plant in Merak due to poor economics. SMI had plans to advance the two week shutdown for a catalyst change by a month from July to June 1. Upon completion of the turnaround, the company is likely to keep the plant idle until an improvement in demand and styrene prices. In a previous instance, SMI had idled the No. 1 plant in November 2009 through January 2010 due to poor economics. Run rates at its 250,000 tpa No. 2 plant is being maintained at 100% of capacity to fulfill contractual obligations. Weighed down by continued anxiety over the eurozone debt crisis and doubts over the recovery of the US economy, styrene monomer FOB Korea prices on May 21 were assessed at $1,068.50/mt, down 13.2% or $162.50/mt, from the previous week. Benzene prices have been assessed at US$802.50/mt FOB Korea on May 21, resulting in a styrene-benzene spread of US266/mt –a twenty dollar fall in the week. SM producers typically need a spread of US$250-300/mt to break even.
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