Saudi Aramco, top naphtha exporter to Asia, has plans to shut a condensate splitter for maintenance for about 50 days in mid-March. This will take an estimated 250,000-330,000 tons of A310 naphtha off the market. Traders expect naphtha supplies to be impacted despite the shutdown being planned in 2011, as per Reuters.
"The market has already priced in this shortage," said a trader, who explained why the market has been trending up in the last two months. Naphtha sentiment has been firm recently, with Asia's cracks hitting a 13 month high on Feb. 14 at a US$171.1/ton premium before falling to US$156.8/ton on Thursday.