Total declares force majeure on impact copolymer PP in US

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Total Petrochemicals has declared force majeure on impact copolymer polypropylene resins made at its plant in La Porte, Texas.

A spokeswoman with Total in Houston confirmed the force majeure in a 7 June email to Plastics News. She added that "an allocation program is being implemented."

Total has more than 2 billion pounds of annual production capacity in La Porte.

The company blamed "a series of unplanned and external events that have impacted [Total's] production levels," adding that the allocation is set to begin on 11 June.

It's unclear how much impact the Total outage will have on regional PP supplies. Braskem Americas also has had some minor production issues at its PP site in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania. Sources who talked to Plastics News were split on whether that situation will have much impact.

North American PP demand growth has not been robust in early 2018, growing just over 2% in the first four months of the year, roughly matching US GDP growth. A domestic sales increase of 2.3% was dampened somewhat by a reduction of almost 6% for sales into the export market, according to the American Chemistry Council.

But fluctuations in supplies of propylene-grade monomer feedstock needed to make PP resin have caused resin prices to gyrate wildly so far in 2018. Most recently, PP prices increased by an average of 7 cents per pound in May after falling by that same amount in March and April combined.

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