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Threat of PET cuts after third force majeure at BP Belgium PTA unit

January 28/2011

(ICIS)-- European polyethylene terephthalate (PET) supply is under threat following the third declaration of force majeure upstream at BPs Geel, Belgium, purified terephthalate (PTA) plant, sources said on Friday.

We are risking going on force majeure on PET because we may not be able to supply our contract customers, a PET producer said.

Another PET producer acknowledged that it too would have to run at very low capacity, lower even than it had been during BPs first two forces majeures.

A BP spokesman explained that the third force majeure was announced on Thursday on PTA 3 because of an agitator problem. For the time being, the unit was producing at full rates.

Market sources were preparing for further cutbacks, however.

If PTA 3 does have problems we would need to come down to 25% [allocation]. It depends on how it performs this week and into next week, the BP spokesman said.

If BP withdrew such an important percentage of production from the European market in December, January and possibly February, the impact would hit the whole chain, another PTA producer said.


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