Sunoco to close La Porte, Tex., polypropylene line

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, May 10 -- Philadelphia-based Sunoco, Inc., said it will permanently shut down a 200 million lb/year polypropylene line at its Sunoco Chemical La Porte, Tex., plant during the third quarter.

The La Porte plant, which currently operates three lines, produces 1 billion lb/year of polypropylene. Sunoco Chemicals operates six polypropylene lines company-wide—at La Porte, Neal, W. Va., and Marcus Hook, Pa.—with a total annual production capacity of 2.3 billion lb.

In explaining the closure, Sunoco Senior Vice-Pres. Bruce G. Fischer, said, "?Current trends in the markets for polyolefins have made it prohibitive to produce products on older assets with high conversion costs. Sunoco remains committed to the polypropylene business in North America, and as a result of this action will be better positioned for growth in the future."

Sunoco said its chemicals unit has tried to optimize both the assets it acquired from Pittsburgh, Pa.-based Aristech Chemical Corp., and those for which it recently assumed management responsibility from Epsilon Products Co., Marcus Hook.

These efforts, along with the shutdown, will create operational efficiencies benefiting the organization and its customers. The remaining capacity, more than 2.0 billion lb/year, will allow Sunoco to remain a top five polypropylene producer in North America, the company said.

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