EU-27 ethylene imports in January-June fell by 10.7% to 200,978 mt compared with 224,987 mt in the same period last year, EU statistics agency Eurostat said Monday.
Sources said the fall in imports came despite Ineos’ new deep-sea terminal in Zwijndrecht in the Antwerp region which has a capacity of 1 million mt which started in Q1.
The project, first announced in July 2010, was scheduled to complete in the fourth quarter of 2012 but suffered logistical delays.
The terminal is connected directly to Ineos’ ethylene-consuming facilities in the Antwerp-Rotterdam region and into the rest of Europe via the ARG ethylene pipeline that links Antwerp to Cologne in Germany and the Ruhr industrial region.
In addition, industry data published by the Association of Petrochemical Producers in Europe earlier this month showed that 9,283,000 mt of ethylene was produced in H1 compared with 9,636,000 mt a year earlier.
Sources have said that the falls in imports and production were due to the economic slowdown in Europe. Ethylene — the largest organic hydrocarbon produced and consumed globally — is the starting block for many basic plastics and fibers.
The eurozone only recently pulled out of recession, with higher-than-expected growth of 0.3% in the second quarter led by Germany and France, the EU said last week.
Eurostat said the 18-month downturn ended thanks in large part to higher-than-expected gains of 0.7% in Germany and 0.5% in France.