On February 16, the spot price of benzene in the U.S. rose significantly. As the temperature on the U.S. Gulf Coast dropped below freezing, many refineries were shut down, but downstream styrene prices remained firm.
The spot benzene spot price calculated by DDP was up 8 cents from last Friday, and the price on February 16 was 264 cents per gallon. Due to the holiday in the United States, there will be no benzene price on February 15. Sources said that spot activity has increased.
On February 12, under the support of downstream styrene, the spot price of benzene began to rise. European production problems pushed up the price of styrene in the region to $1,410 per ton, which subsequently boosted US pricing.
Because of the temperature below zero, many U.S. refineries went offline, and U.S. benzene prices were further supported. According to reports, ExxonMobil’s Bay City plant with a benzene production capacity of 730,000 tons/year failed. TCEQ reported that Total closed its Port Arthur plant with a benzene production capacity of 104,000 tons/year after losing steam. Citrogo USA closed its Corpus Christi plant with a benzene production capacity of 167,000 tons/year. In addition, Shell has closed its Deer Parker refinery with a benzene production capacity of 217,000 tons/year. The Corpus Christi plant in Flint Hills, USA, with a benzene production capacity of 343,000 tons/year has also ceased production.
A total of 1.561 million tons/year of benzene production capacity is affected by storm-related shutdowns, which means that as many as 4,277 tons of benzene may be lost daily on the U.S. Gulf Coast. In addition to the shutdown related to the storm, Marathon Crude Oil Company is also preparing to maintain its Texas City refinery, which has an improved plant with a benzene production capacity of 400,000 tons/year. The maintenance is expected to last approximately 6 weeks.
While benzene production is decreasing, downstream styrene producers are also facing problems. According to sources, Styrolution has closed its plants in Texas City and Bayport, with capacities of 500,000 tons/year and 771,000 tons/year respectively. On February 16, the spot price of styrene was 1,200 USD/ton FOB USG.
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