US spot ethylene prices Tuesday rose to levels not seen in more than a year after a late-Monday fire forced a shutdown at Chevron Phillips Chemical’s Port Arthur, Texas, facility, multiple market sources said.
July deals were heard concluded in early trading at 58.25 cents/lb Mont Belvieu Williams pipeline basis, climbing to 59 cents/lb MtB Wms and finally twice at 60 cents/lb MtB Wms. August deals were heard concluded 59.87 cents/lb MtB Wms.
Market talk of an unconfirmed production problems at another major producer also was serving to push prices higher, sources said.
According to Platts data, ethylene deals via the Williams pipeline system were last heard concluded at 60 cents/lb on June 14, 2013, a day after a fire shut Williams Olefins’ steam cracker in Geismar, Louisiana.
Spot ethylene was last assessed above 60 cents/lb on May 15, 2013, according to Platts data.
Platts assessed US spot ethylene Monday at 57.5-58 cents/lb FD USG on a three- to 30-day basis, up 2.5 cents/lb from the previous trading session on reports that LyondellBasell had encountered a startup delay at its La Porte, Texas, facility.
Multiple market sources on Tuesday said the Chevron Phillips Chemical flash fire, which reportedly injured two workers Monday night, had resulted in the 830,000 mt/year steam cracker at the company’s Port Arthur facility to be shut. It was unclear what impact the fire might have on production or how long the shutdown could last.
Company spokesman David Hastings said Tuesday that the company does not publicly comment on operational issues.
Chevron Phillips Chemical said in a statement Tuesday that the fire had been extinguished and the all-clear was sounded just before 7 a.m. CDT. An investigation to determine the cause of the incident was underway and the company was working with federal, state and local authorities, according to the statement.