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Friday, January 28, 2022

PE, PP, PS production at Total sites in France yet to improve

Production of polyethylene and polypropylene at Total’s sites in Gonfreville and Carling, France, remains stopped, while production of polystyrene remains reduced, the company said Friday in a letter to customers seen by S&P Global Platts.

“Unfortunately we still have no improved visibility on the future situation which is forcing us to maintain the force majeure on all French polymer plants,” the company said in the letter, and confirmed to Platts late Friday.

The company added olefins supply from its cracker in Lavera was currently resuming production, which would then allow a consequent restart at its polypropylene facility there.

A national strike is still in force, as well as sporadic blockades of roads in the Gonfreville industrial area, the company said.

Strike action in France called by the CGT labor union against changes to labor legislation began May 23.

In France, Total operates nine PP, PE and PS plants including its joint venture with Ineos. At Gonfreville, according to Platts data, HDPE production capacity is 240,000 mt/year, LDPE 160,000 mt/year, LLDPE 80,000 mt/year, PP is 210,000 mt/year and PS is 50,000 mt/year.

At Carling, Total operates a 210,000 mt/year LLDPE plant, and a 150,000 mt/year PS plant, as well as a newly started 30,000 mt/year reinforced PP compound site.

Total’s joint venture with Ineos at Lavera is home to 300,000 mt/year of polypropylene production.

Despite production cuts in France both PE and PP spot prices declined through last week on subdued demand and strong import supplies.

LDPE spot prices were assessed at Eur1,330/mt (about $1,499/mt) FD NWE, Friday, falling Eur10 during last week. PP prices fell Eur40 through last week to be assessed at Eur1,010/mt FD NWE.

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