Force Majeure at BASF Sends Shockwaves to Belgian Triethanolamine Market
Force Majeure at BASF Sends Shockwaves to Belgian Triethanolamine Market

Force Majeure at BASF Sends Shockwaves to Belgian Triethanolamine Market

  • 27-Dec-2023 5:24 PM
  • Journalist: Gabreilla Figueroa

The market of Triethanolamine in Belgium has skyrocketed in recent months, showing no signs of slowdown. This surge was attributed to a confluence of factors including supply curtailment of Triethanolamine in the European region including Belgium, France, and Germany as well as the cost pressure from the upstream raw materials. The driving force for the price increment in the Triethanolamine market was attributed to a major disruption at the leading producer, BASF Ludwigshafen. Additionally, the surge in the production cost due to high feedstock prices including Ammonia and Ethylene oxide has further supported the uptrend during this timeframe.

During November 2023, Belgium witnessed a sharp inclination in the Triethanolamine prices with a hike of 1.7% compared to the previous month to settle at USD 1285/MT FD Antwerp. The key factor for the price hike was the unexpected force majeure declared by BASF at its Ludwigshafen plant in November 2023. This critical facility having a capacity of 130,000 metric tons per year, suffered a technical glitch, leading toward halting production. This sudden supply disruption sent shockwaves throughout the European market, creating an immediate shortage of Triethanolamine during this timeframe. Because Ludwigshafen production facility is one of the key suppliers of Triethanolamine in Europe, henceforth, the disruption caused a price increment within the region including Belgium. Moreover, as per the market sources, the force majeure situation at Ludwigshafen is not easing. The plant remained offline until December 12th, and reports suggest further extensions are likely in the coming weeks. This prolonged absence of a major supplier is keeping the market tense, powering concerns amongst traders and pushing the Triethanolamine prices even higher.

Moreover, the BASF Ludwigshafen outage was not only the reason for the market disturbance. Adding fuel to the fire, BASF's Antwerp plant, responsible for 500,000 mt/year of Ethylene Oxide (EO), a key feedstock for Triethanolamine production, underwent a scheduled maintenance turnaround from mid-November to the end of the month. This further constrained Ethylene oxide availability, driving up its price and consequently impacting Triethanolamine production costs. Additionally, the price of Ammonia, another crucial ingredient in Triethanolamine production, has also witnessed a sharp rise in Europe which adds significant pressure on manufacturers, who are forced to adjust these escalating costs into their final product pricing.

As per ChemAnalyst, the future of the Triethanolamine market in Belgium remains at a higher end. While the BASF Antwerp feedstock plant resuming operations could offer some relief, the extended force majeure at Ludwigshafen and the overall tight supply situation are likely to keep prices elevated for future deliveries.

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