For the second time in less than two weeks, Nova Chemicals has announced force majeure supply limits on polyethylene resin production.
This time, the limits affect production at Nova's St. Clair River site in Corunna, Ontario. In a Sept. 26 letter to customers obtained by Plastics News, officials with Nova in Calgary said that the firm "experienced an unplanned outage" at its Corunna ethylene cracker in the Sarnia region. That cracker supplies ethylene to Nova's PE facilities there.
The outage caused no injuries or environmental concerns, officials said. The St. Clair River site has annual production capacity of almost 900 million pounds of PE resin.
Nova on Sept. 14 had announced force majeure supply limits for high and low density PE resins made by the firm in Moore Township, Ontario. Officials said Sept. 26 that the Moore force majeure remains in effect.
"At present, the estimated duration of the [St. Clair River] force majeure is unknown," officials said in the letter. "We currently have no firm indication as to what extent we will be able to supply your needs during this force majeure."
The Moore announcement marked the second time this year that the site has operated under supply limits because of an ethylene supply issue in Corunna. The previous force majeure lasted from late March until the end of May. Nova operates about 550 million pounds of annual HDPE capacity and about 480 million pounds of LDPE capacity in Moore.
The Nova outages will further restrict a North American PE market that already had been tightening because of increased sales into export markets. These conditions allowed regional PE makers to gain a 3-cent-per-pound price increase in August.
Regional PE supplies also were strained in late August when Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. placed force majeure supply limits on HDPE made at one of the firm's plants in Orange, Texas. That declaration was the result of an equipment failure.