(S&P Global Platts, Bernardo Fallas, 13.Nov.2018) — Argentina-based energy company Pampa Energia is cutting polystyrene and styrene butadiene rubber production amid lackluster demand in Argentina and barriers to export, two company sources said Monday on the sidelines of the 38th Latin American Petrochemical Association meetings in Cancun.
Pampa expects to shut its 65,000-mt/year PS plant December 1 through mid-January because of economic reasons, the company sources said. Production of SBR at the company’s San Martin complex also has been cut, as has production of ethylene at the company’s 19,000-mt/year cracker in San Lorenzo.
Argentina is weathering a financial crisis highlighted by high inflation and sharp devaluation of its currency, which in recent months prompted the government to turn to the International Monetary Fund for a $57.4 billion bailout.
Demand for PS will close the year approximately 12% lower from 2017 levels, one of the sources said. Argentina’s recent implementation of temporary export taxes has hurt the company’s ability to place volumes overseas, given PS’s already-thin margins.
Pampa has also reduced production of aromatics such as benzene, toluene and mixed xylenes as it aims to reduce feedstock naphtha imports.