Two Fires Fuel Uncertainty for Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK)
March 26, 2019
The residents of Houston, TX found themselves under a hazardous cloud last week as a major storage facility for Shell Chemicals, ITC Deer Park terminal, blazed.
Although only a few of the 242 tanks at ITC burned, and reports did not indicate that any of the tanks contained MEK, Shell Chemicals subsequently declared Force Majeure on MEK, citing the fact that all loading and shipping operations at the terminal had ceased.
Ironically, a Taiwanese producer, Tasco, has also recently declared Force Majeure on MEK following a fire that broke out in their control room and pipeline on February 28. The Tasco plant is expected to be down for six months, pending government approval of the rebuild.
The MEK market is expected to feel the effect of the fires. At present, there are less than ten manufacturers globally of Methyl Ethyl Ketone, with the majority being produced in China and Asia. No Methyl Ethyl Ketone is currently being produced in the United States.
Other factors are affecting the U.S. MEK market. Uncertainty surrounding tariffs on imported product is causing hesitancy with U.S. importers. Also, MEKP, a major consumer of MEK, is now being produced by Nouryon at a new facility in Pasadena, TX.
To discuss the possible effect of the fires on your MEK supply and/or price, contact your sales representative. CORECHEM is committed to minimizing the effect on our customers to the best of our ability.