Germany's BASF is expected to restart its 550,000 metric ton (mt)/year styrene monomer production unit in Ludwigshafen, Germany, by the end of October following planned maintenance works, market sources told OPIS Thursday.

The unit began a planned turnaround in mid-August for up to eight weeks, according to the sources.

BASF didn't respond to an OPIS request for more information on the restart date.

Some sources noted that the ramping up process has already started, whilst others believe the restart has been set for the end of the month.

"It would be understandable if the restart is delayed until the end of the month given that the current styrene spot price is almost at parity with (feedstock) benzene," one market source said.

"It's no fun to produce styrene at the current benzene values. Derivatives demand also remains weak," said a separate source.

Spot October styrene traded at $1,150-1,170 per metric ton FOB (Free on Board) ARA (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp) on October 9, according to OPIS assessment data. Meanwhile spot benzene exchanged hands at $1,130 per mt CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) ARA the same day. On October 10 benzene traded at $1,135-1,150 per mt CIF ARA, OPIS data showed.

European styrene producers have been under pressure in recent months, juggling high production costs with poor consumer demand.

Downstream operating rates across the styrene derivatives chain in Europe continue to be around 60-65%, according to data by Chemical Market Analytics (CMA), by OPIS, a Dow Jones company.

 

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 Fahima Mathé, fmathe@opisnet.com; Editing by Yazdi Merchant, ymerchant@opisnet.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 12, 2023 09:58 ET (13:58 GMT)

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