Strike in France hampers NWE polyethylene deliveries

14-Oct-10
Majority of French refineries and two major oil ports have decided to carry on with a strike against government plans to overhaul pensions. These strikes have hampered the export of polyethylene, as per Platts. Concerns are growing about prompt polyethylene supply out of France. An impact currently seen in the low density polyethylene market which is getting tighter now, as deliveries out of LyondellBasell's Aubette unit have been affected because polymer transportation has been affected by the strike. The 320,000 tpa Aubette plant continues to run normally. All six of Total's French refineries are halting operations and are in various stages of shutdown. Distribution of fuel has resumed from ExxonMobil's Fos sur Mer facility. ExxonMobil's second refinery in France, Port-Jerome Gravenchon, did not join the strike and has continued operations and fuel supplies. LyondellBasell's refinery Berre L'Etang and Ineos' Lavera were reported to have extended the strike. It is unclear whether LyondellBasell's 450,000 tpa steam cracker at Berre, France was affected by the strike. Ineos and Total were not available to comment on the status of the Naphtachimie steam cracker at Lavera. The cracker, with a capacity to produce 745,000 tpa of ethylene, is a joint venture between Total Petrochemicals and Ineos. Ethylene vessels are not moving appropriately out of France, resulting in delays affecting the Tarragona region.
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