Ineos declared force majeure last month on supply of low-viscosity polyalphaolefins after an unexpected disruption to feedstock supply involving facilities in Texas.
The company informed customers on Jan. 19 that it was implementing allocations and that it expects production to return to normal within 30 days of that date, according to an official with a lubricant marketer that received the notice and who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Ineos officials declined to comment, stating that the company has a policy of not commenting on operations.
Force majeure is a legal term for situations in which businesses are not able to meet contractual obligations because of extraordinary and unforeseen circumstances.
According to the anonymous source, Ineos advised that the problems were caused by an unplanned shutdown of a unit at its petrochemical refinery in Chocolate Bayou, Texas. That refinery produces linear alpha olefins, including decene that is used as feedstock at its PAO plant in La Porte, Texas. The company did not specify the nature of the problem but said the incident began on Jan. 13. Ineos said the disruption caused by the incident was exacerbated by an upcoming scheduled closing of a Belgium facility expected to temporarily reduce PAO supply in Europe. That facility is shutting down for maintenance in April.
PAOs are petrochemical fluids used in a range of applications including as base stocks in synthetic lubricants. Ineos, which is based in London, is one of the world’s largest suppliers, along with ExxonMobil and Chevron Phillips Chemical.