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India’s petrochemical producers declare force majeure


India’s petrochemical producers declare force majeure

At least three India-based petrochemical producers have declared or intend to declare force majeure on supplies, after the Indian government announced a complete lockdown from midnight today for 21 days - Argus reports.

The move is aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus but has caused logistical difficulties for the petrochemical market.

India's private-sector Haldia Petrochemicals (HPL) declared force majeure on supplies on 23 March, a day before the lockdown announcement. Its cracker complex is expected to close soon, and it is unclear when operations will resume. HPL's sister firm, purified terephthalic acid producer MCPI, which has around 1.27mn t/yr of capacity in West Bengal, has also declared force majeure and is expected to completely shut down operations.

HPL operates a cracker with nameplate capacity of 700,000 t/yr of ethylene, 340,000 t/yr of propylene, 150,000 t/yr of benzene, 100,000 t/yr of butadiene and 98,000 t/yr of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE). The producer also has 350,000 t/yr polypropylene, 345,000 t/yr high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and swing 365,000 t/yr linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) production lines.

Supreme Petrochem, a polystyrene (PS) and expandable polystyrene (EPS) producer in India, intends to impose force majeure on supplies as a result of the lockdown. Supreme is the largest styrene monomer importer in India and operates 272,000 t/yr PS and 80,000 t/yr EPS units.

India's ONGC Petro Additions (Opal) has yet to make any force majeure declaration, but its operations are also likely to be severely affected. Opal has a 1.1mn t/yr cracker at Dahej in the western state of Gujarat. Downstream operations include 350,000 t/yr polypropylene, 340,000 t/yr HDPE and swing 720,000 t/yr HDPE/LLDPE units.

India's large petrochemical producer Reliance Industries has also yet to issue force majeure notices to its offtakers.

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