Forecasting what swings resin prices will take means relying on an expected flow of material. As PN's Frank Esposito noted in this month's Polymer Points Live webinar May 16, problems starting up Shell Chemical's new plant in Monaca, Pa., is complicating the picture for polyethylene.
Shell had to temporarily shut down the plant due to flaring, wastewater treatment and other issues. The plant is expected to have annual production capacity of about 3.5 billion pounds of PE resin, but Frank noted those major startup issues mean it could be out for much of the year.
"Some of these [issues] are tied into normal startup challenges; some of it sounds like it may be more than that," he said. "So that may mean that material is probably not going to hit the market this year."