U.S. Markets on 23-Mar-09
Ethylene and refinery grade propylene traded several times Monday. NGLs rose and resin trading was moderate.
April ethylene traded at 23.25 cpp, 23.625 cpp and twice at 23.75 cpp, all in the Williams system. March, May and June all traded on an ethane formula basis. A total of 40 million pounds was confirmed to have traded Monday. The last confirmed fixed-price deal was at 23.25 cpp for April, done on March 19. The day ended with March bid at 23 cpp against no offers. April was bid at 23.25 cpp and offered at 24.25 cpp (Eq system) and 24 cpp (Wms system). Bids and offers were seen extending through the rest of the year on an ethane formula basis.
A March-June RGP strip traded, with the March pounds priced at 19.5 cpp, and the remaining three months priced on an index basis. March refinery grade propylene also traded twice for March at 19 cpp. The last confirmed spot RGP deal was done at 20 cpp on March 13. The day ended with March RGP bid at 19.5 cpp and offered at 21.5 cpp for pipeline delivery. April was bid at 19 cpp and offered at 22 cpp. Chemical grade propylene was bid for March and April on an index basis against no offers. Rail-delivered polymer grade propylene was bid at 25 cpp for March against no offers.
In production news, the Markwest Javelina gas processing facility in south Texas was shut for maintenance over the weekend, and is expected to restart on March 31, according to a filing with Texas regulators. Westlake’s Petro 1 cracker returned to operation on Saturday, after going down Dec 17 for maintenance. Still shut is Shell’s GO-1 cracker in Norco, one of Dow’s crackers at St. Charles, and ExxonMobil’s Beaumont olefins facility. Eastman’s 3A cracker in Longview, Equistar’s Chocolate Bayou olefins unit, and Chevron Phillips’ Sweeny 22 crackers are also shut. Five crackers have returned to service in March totaling about 12% of Gulf coast capacity.
Energies and NGLs traded higher. Crude oil was up $1.73 to end at $53.80/bbl. Natural gas gained 7 cents to finish the day at $4.294/mmBtu. Ethane was up 1.25 cents ending at 35.5 cpg. Propane rose 2.75 cents to 74.75 cpg. Butane traded 4.25 cents higher to 91.25 cpg. Iso was 9.5 cents higher at 107.5 cpg. Natural gasoline ended at 110 cpg, up 5.5 cents.
Spot resin trading was moderate Monday and prices held steady. Processors were bidding for small volumes for incremental supply requirements for prompt delivery. Resin participants at all levels of the market remain reluctant to take on inventory as spot prices fall. Generic prime spot railcars are down 2-4 cents this month depending on the grade. PP is down about 2 cpp. Market participants continue to worry about poor domestic demand, while falling US prices have stimulated some interest from Latin American and Chinese traders over the past week.