BASF Declares FM for EO-Based Care Chemicals

22.05.2015 -

BASF has declared force majeure for ethylene-oxide (EO)-based products in its Care Chemicals portfolio, due to a captive shortage of the ethylene derivative. The restrictions apply to products of its Home Care and Industrial & Institutional Cleaning, Formulation Technologies, AgChem Additives units and certain EO-based products in its Personal Care portfolio.

The German group shut down its 345,000 t/y EO plant at Ludwigshafen on May 19, citing technical problems, and declared FM for EO as well as for monoethylene glycol. Its larger Antwerp facility is still on stream but being operated at reduced capacity.

Effects of the outages on customers are currently being evaluated, BASF said. The EO plant is not expected to be back on stream until the beginning of June, and the group does not expect the impact in downstream production to ease until around the end of June.

BASF it is taking steps to limit the consequences for its customers and will "continuously inform" them about any new developments and details regarding supply capability with the affected products.

The EO outage in Ludwigshafen adds to the series of force majeure declarations currently sweeping the European petrochemicals sector, leading to supply shortages and higher prices. Crackers operated by Total at Lavéra, France, and Shell at Wesseling, Germany, are down following fires in mid-May. As a result, several major producers have declared FM for polyethylene and polypropylene as well as PVC.