Methyl ethyl ketone spot prices skyrocket in Europe as market dries up

Feb 19, 2016

The spot price of methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) was assessed at Eur2,500/mt FD NWE on Tuesday, reaching an all time high, Platts data shows. None of the three Europe based producers are currently offering any spot material, several market sources confirm. The current spot price is far above the previous all time high of MEK of Eur1,950/mt in June 2011. After Shell Chemical declared a force majeure on its steam cracker in Moerdijk, Netherlands, effectively all MEK spot material disappeared in Europe. Shell's annual MEK capacity measures to 90,000 mt. Ineos' 70,000 mt MEK facility in Moers, Germany, has been in shutdown since the summer, not offering any material for spot purchase. The third European producer, Exxon Chemical at Fawley in the UK, has not offered any spot material to the European market for months now, sources say. The Fawley facility has an annual capacity of 135,000 mt. Sources say that Exxon has shipped most it's molecules from Fawley to the US MEK market. "There are imports from China on their way, but those will not arrive until mid- to end of November," a trade source said Tuesday. Global MEK capacity amounts to just over 1.4 million mt, Platts data shows. Roughly half of that capacity is based in far-east countries such as China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.