By David Reed, UT EditorThe Woodlands, Texas-A Huntsman Corp. subsidiary has issued force majeure notices to customers, following an unscheduled maintenance shut down of its PO/MTBE (propylene oxide/methyl tert.-butyl ether) manufacturing facility in Port Neches, Texas. The plant is expected to be down for 48 days, a 25 Aug statement reported. The facility has an annual production capacity of 238 kilotonnes of PO, 985 million litres of MTBE and 66 kilotonnes of propylene glycol, the announcement indicated. A separate MTBE extraction unit, also located in Port Neches, with annual production capacity of 985 million litres, remains operational, Huntsman said. No specific reasons for the shutdown were announced, but Peter Huntsman, the firm’s president and CEO, said, Safety is our top priority. While we regret the commercial and financial impact, we believe a temporary shutdown is necessary to ensure that this facility continues to operate in a safe manner. We are working very closely with our customers to limit the impact on their operations.”Huntsman says it does not expect to incur significant additional expenses in connection with the shutdown, but expects it will knock about $30 million off the margins of its polyurethanes and performance products segments in the third quarter. “
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