Equistar to shut down polyethylene plant

Equistar Chemicals LP, Houston, will discontinue operations at its polyethylene plant at Port Arthur, Tex., by Feb. 28, the company said Monday.

It plans to permanently shut down the facility. The plant includes a 240 million lb/year high density polyethylene (HDPE) reactor and a 160 million lb/year low density polyethylene reactor, as well as a 300 million lb/year HDPE reactor shut in 2 years ago.

"Our analysis of Port Arthur concludes that the site does not have sufficient scale and operational efficiency to compete in today's environment," said Eugene R. Allspach, Equistar's president and chief operating officer. "The current level of profitability in polyolefins requires that we continue advancing our strategic plan of reshaping our business to focus and grow the assets where we have sustainable competitive advantages.

"We expect this shutdown to cause minimal disruption to customers as we continue to provide their needs with the same products produced at other sites," Allspach said.

Equistar will have an annual polyolefins capacity of 6.5 billion pounds following this shutdown.

Equistar Chemicals is a joint venture among Lyondell Chemical Co., Millennium Chemicals Inc., and Occidental Petroleum Corp. Equistar has 15 manufacturing sites located primarily along the US Gulf Coast and in the Midwest.

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