US aromatics spot prices rose Tuesday, but it was the mixed xylene market that saw prices firm the most because of a number of key factors, specifically a recent refinery shutdown in Louisiana.
Prompt July MX was assessed at 279 cents/gal FOB USG Tuesday, up 11 cents from Monday, based on a bid/offer range of 276-282 cents/gal. Following Monday’s assessment of 268 cents/gal FOB USG, MX bid/offer levels began moving up Monday afternoon to a range of 270-280 cents/gal after the Platts Market on Close assessment window.
The increase in MX came on the back of stronger energy futures, talk of possible demand for toluene and xylene imports in Mexico and the recent shutdown at Phillips 66’s Alliance refinery in Belle Chasse, Louisiana.
In addition to the Alliance shutdown, sources had said heading into July that MX prices could pick up if production rates from the downstream paraxylene market picks up and spurs MX demand.
Specifically, participants said the shutdown at the Alliance refinery may last for two weeks, but the company would not confirm any time frame. Phillips 66 said it deliberately shut the entire refinery because of an accident involving a contact worker.
The refinery remains shut Tuesday, but a company spokeswoman said it would be premature to discuss any start-up plans.
Toluene production at the Alliance Refinery is estimated to be 3,900 b/d, while xylene production is estimated to be 3,900 b/d, according to S&P Global Platts data.