Equistar to temporarily idle olefins unit

OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Dec. 18 -- Equistar Chemicals LP temporarily will idle its olefins unit at Chocolate Bayou, Tex., because of declining market and economic conditions. Equistar Chemicals is an indirect subsidiary of LyondellBasell.

The olefins unit is expected to remain out of service until sufficient demand for petrochemical derivatives resumes. The Chocolate Bayou plant has a nameplate capacity of 1.2 billion lb/year of ethylene and 725 million lb/year of propylene.

"Demand for petrochemical derivatives continues to be very weak," said Vaughn Deasy, vice-president of base chemicals for LyondellBasell. "With our olefins flexibility in North America, we can optimize physical assets and contain a portion of our costs while continuing to meet the needs of our customers."

LyondellBasell affiliates recently have idled several chemical and polymers plants around the world to optimize operations because of low demand. Equistar temporarily idled an olefins unit at La Porte, Tex., in October, for example. These facilities are being maintained in a state of readiness to restart as market conditions improve.

Through its global subsidiaries, LyondellBasell has 11 olefins plants worldwide and a rated capacity of 14.9 billion lb/year of ethylene and 8.7 billion lb/year of propylene.

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