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Factbox: US export PVC prices hit fresh all-time high on Ida fallout

  • Author
  • Kristen Hays
  • Editor
  • Kshitiz Goliya
  • Commodity
  • Petrochemicals
  • Tags
  • United States

Hurricane Ida's impact on US export polyvinyl chloride prices emerged Sept. 10 with confirmations of deals done for September volumes in a range of $1,900-$1,950/mt FAS Houston, a fresh all-time high since S&P Global Platts began assessing the market in 1983.

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Five US PVC plants clustered along the Mississippi River shut down ahead of Ida's Aug. 29 landfall. The plants that make up 41% of North American PVC capacity were slowly restarting, but were hindered by limited availability of critical industrial gases.

Producers also were continuing damage assessments, as the PVC production chain involves four units -- chlor-alkali, ethylene dichloride, vinyl chloride monomer and PVC -- that were restarting in sequence.

However, that was not the entire amount of PVC capacity offline. At the end of the week starting Aug. 30, Shintech, the largest US PVC producer, also had to shut its 1.45 million mt/year PVC unit in Freeport, Texas, on a lack of upstream VCM feedstock after Olin shut its VCM plant in Freeport because of an equipment failure, according to sources familiar with the companies' operations. Shintech's Texas shutdown pushed the total amount of North American PVC offline to 59%.

In addition, Formosa Plastics USA was wrapping up a turnaround launched in August at its 798,000 mt/year PVC unit in Point Comfort, Texas, sources familiar with company operations said. Counting that plant, nearly 69% of 8.29 million mt/year of North American PVC capacity was offline.

PVC is a construction staple used to make pipes, window frames, vinyl siding and other products. Market sources had expected prices to spike in the aftermath of Ida's assault, and the top end of the range of deals confirmed Sept. 10 marked a $275/mt jump from $1,675/mt FAS, where export PVC was last assessed Sept. 8.

A source said prices were expected to retreat once producers finish restarting operations.

"After people come back running, there may be some more correction," the source said.

Power had been restored to many operations along the river post-Ida, but some remained without it Sept. 10.

Dow Chemical has declared force majeure on polyethylene produced at its Taft, Louisiana, complex in St. Charles Parish, according to a customer letter seen Sept. 10 by Platts.

Entergy, the main power provider in the region, said power was expected to be restored in St. Charles Parish no later than Sept. 29. Other parishes upriver had restoration dates ranging from Sept. 9 to Sept. 17, including the PVC operations.

St. Charles Parish also is home to Shell Chemicals' Norco complex, with two crackers that have a combined capacity of 1.55 million mt/year. It also houses OxyChem's chlor-alkali unit in Taft that can produce up to 680,000 mt/year of chlorine and 747,252 mt/year of caustic soda.

Here is a rundown of the fallout of Ida's landfall:


Baton Rouge

**ExxonMobil chemical complex: 1 million mt/year cracker; 400,000 mt/year HDPE; 400,000 mt/year LDPE; 900,000 mt/year LLDPE; 410,000 mt/year polypropylene

**Formosa Plastics USA: 513,000 mt/year PVC; 653,000 mt/year vinyl chloride monomer


**Olin: 850,000 mt/year chlorine; 934,066 mt/year caustic soda

**Dow Chemical: 1 million mt/year and 500,000 mt/year crackers; 750,000 mt/year HDPE; 184,000 mt/year and 350,000 mt/year LDPE; 544,000 mt/year LLDPE

**Shintech: 500,000 mt/year cracker; 600,000 mt/year PVC; 1.77 million mt/year VCM; 2 million mt/year ethylene dichloride; 1.16 million mt/year chlorine; 1.28 million mt/year caustic soda

**Westlake Chemical: 861,826 mt/year PVC; 725,747 mt/year VCM; 1.15 million mt/year EDC; 426,376 mt/year chlorine; 453,592 mt/year caustic soda


**Shintech: 900,000 mt/year PVC


**Westlake Chemical: 589,669 mt/year PVC; 625,000 mt/year EDC; 317,514 mt/year chlorine; 349,266 mt/year caustic soda



**NOVA Chemicals: 977,000 mt/year cracker

**OxyChem: 315,000 mt/year EDC; 353,000 mt/year chlorine; 387,912 mt/year caustic soda

**Methanex: Two methanol units, each 1 million mt/year

**Shell Chemicals: 375,000 mt/year ethylene glycols


**OxyChem: 613,000 mt/year EDC; 353,000 mt/year chlorine; 387,912 mt/year caustic soda


**Dow Chemical: Two crackers, 635,000 mt/year and 365,000 mt/year; 750,000 mt/year HDPE; 800,000 mt/year LLDPE

**OxyChem: 680,000 mt/year chlorine; 747,252 mt/year caustic soda


**Shell Chemicals: 625,000 mt/year and 930,000 mt/year crackers; 265,351 mt/year butadiene

St. Gabriel

**Olin: 250,000 mt/year chlorine; 274,725 mt/year caustic soda


**Pinnacle Polymers: 430,000 mt/year PP


**CosMar: Two styrene units, each 579,000 mt/year

**TotalEnergies, 660,000 mt/year polystyrene

St. James

**YCI: Methanol unit, 1.7 million mt/year

**Americas Styrenics, two lines, 499,000 mt/year and 453,000 mt/year

St. Louis Bay, Mississippi

**DAK Americas, 430,000 mt/year PET


**Pinnacle Polymers: Declared Aug. 30 for all products due to impacts of the storm.

**OxyChem: Declared Aug. 30 on water treatment products marketed under ACL, Towerbrom and Towerchlor brands, as well as cyanuric acid.

**DAK Americas: Declared Aug. 30 on PET.

**OxyChem: Declared Aug. 31 for chlorine, caustic soda, ethylene dichloride, sulfuric acid, potassium hydroxide, methylene chloride, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, perchloroethylene

**Westlake Chemical: Declared Aug. 31 for PVC and VCM.

**Shintech: Declared Sept. 1 for caustic soda.

**Westlake Chemical: Declared Sept. 2 for caustic soda.

**Formosa Plastics USA: Declared Sept. 5 on PVC.

**Dow Chemical: Declared Sept. 8 on LLDPE and HDPE


**US spot ethylene prices were flat day on day Sept. 10 at 35.5 cents/lb FD Mont Belvieu, while the FD Choctaw marker was flat at 56 cents/lb.

**US spot polymer-grade propylene prices were assessed up 2.25 cents/lb on the day Sept. 10 at 79 cents/lb FD USG.

**US export MEG prices were assessed up 1.5 cents/lb week on week Sept. 10 at 35 cents/lb