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Five US polystyrene plants are either shut down or operating at reduced rates

May 06/2011

(ICIS) -- Five US polystyrene (PS) plants are either shut down or operating at reduced rates caused by flooding and severe weather, creating an unprecedented imbalance in supply and demand, market sources said on Thursday.


Americas Styrenics was experiencing delays in styrene monomer (SM) barge shipments to its three plants in Ohio and Illinois because of historic flood levels on the Ohio and Illinois rivers, a market source said.


The producer has responded by either idling lines or cutting back operating rates, and it could still resort to a full shutdown depending on how much longer the barges are delayed, the source said.


The affected plants are located in Joliet, Illinois (125 KTa); Marietta, Ohio (360 KTa); and Ironton, Ohio (85 KTa).


Assuming no further heavy rains fall in the Ohio and Illinois river valleys, market participants expect all three Americas Styrenics plants could return to full operating rates toward the end of May.


Meanwhile, INEOS Styrenics is facing its own set of supply woes. The company began a planned turnaround at its 400 KTa plant in Joliet, Illinois, and is waiting for the main power supply to be restored to its 190 KTa Decatur, Alabama, plant following severe weather a week ago.


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