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Styrene force majeure at Cosmar plant could extend until mid-April: sources

Houston — A previously announced force majeure on styrene coming out of the Cosmar facility in Louisiana has been extended until mid-April, several sources said Tuesday.

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Cosmar operates two styrene lines totaling 1.15 million mt/year. It is a 50:50joint venture between Total Petrochemicals and SABIC.

SABIC announced a force majeure on styrene January 25 as a result of production issues related to cold weather. The styrene force majeure was expected to last six weeks, but SABIC said Tuesday that full production may not be restored until mid-April.

The announcement comes as US styrene supplies are already snug as a result ofplanned maintenance during the first quarter.

INEOS Styrolution's 1.27 million mt/year unit in Bayport, Texas, came offlinefor planned work in mid-January and was slated to remain offline throughFebruary, sources said.

As a result of the outages, US styrene price surged to as high as $1,540/mtFOB USG to end January. Since then prices have scaled back, stuck at near$1,530/mt FOB USG as limited supply has stifled liquidity. Styrene was lastheard traded late last week at $1,525/mt and $1,540/mt.

Sources anticipated that the market would continue to stagnate as supply constraints persisted and the Lunar New Year holiday was expected to halt activity in Asia.

Activity was expected to improve in late March and early April, sources said,but the impact of China's antidumping duties remained unclear. China saidMonday that it would impose antidumping duties on US styrene in the range of9.2%-10.7%.

--Kevin Allen,

--Edited by Jason Lindquist,