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Europe Styrene Output to Rise as Force Majeures Lifting in H2 April, Sources Say — OPIS

Europe's two largest styrene producers, TotalEnergies and LyondellBasell, are set to lift declarations of force majeure on styrene and polyolefins during the second half of April which have crimped supplies in the region, sources told OPIS Monday.

TotalEnergies declared force majeure on styrene deliveries from their 200,000 b/d petrochemical plant at Gonfreville, northern France, on April 3, according to a letter from the company seen by OPIS.

The letter noted the issue was linked to an electrical incident but did not specify how long the force majeure would last. A source told OPIS that the unit would be restarting this week. TotalEnergies declined to provide OPIS with further details, adding it does "not comment on operations."

A force majeure was declared on polyolefins in March at LyondellBasell's and Covestro's jointly-owned propylene oxide styrene monomer (POSM) plant in Maasvlakte, the Netherlands. The POSM plant had been taken offline in mid-December as a preventative measure and came back online in second half February. A spokesperson for LyondellBasell confirmed OPIS Tuesday that the "unit at Maasvlakte is up and running."

LyondellBasell's site at Maasvlakte produces 680,000 metric tons/year of styrene, the largest styrene manufacturing unit in Europe, and 313,000 mt/year of propylene oxide, according to data from Chemical Market Analytics (CMA) by OPIS, a Dow Jones company. TotalEnergies produces 600,000 mt/year styrene at Gonfreville, the second largest European production site, CMA data showed.

The reduced styrene output from both sites has impacted both the European spot styrene and benzene markets, as styrene prices shot higher while benzene levels collapsed.

Spot benzene prices on April 2 for April delivery were $1,300/mt basis Cost, Insurance Freight (CIF) Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam (ARA) according to OPIS data. Levels sank to a low of $1,172.50/mt on April 10 - when the force majeure at Gonfreville became widespread knowledge in the market - before slowly recovering to $1,202.50/mt on April 15, OPIS data showed.

Spot styrene prices on April 2 were $1,620/mt basis Free on Board (FOB) ARA and rose steadily to peak at $1,815/mt on April 12. They fell back to $1,790/mt on April 15 - a rise of $170.50/mt over first half April, OPIS data showed.

Styrene is used as a building block to produce finished consumer products, such as food containers, rubber tires and building insulation.


This content was created by Oil Price Information Service, which is operated by Dow Jones & Co. OPIS is run independently from Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal.


--Reporting by Yazdi; Editing by Rob Sheridan,


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 16, 2024 13:15 ET (17:15 GMT)

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