10 May 2001 19:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--Basell, the joint venture polyolefins producer owned by Germany's BASF and Anglo-Dutch Shell, is carrying out a strategic economic review of all its production facilities which could lead to further rationalisation of capacity, CNI was told Thursday.
A spokesman for Basell said the review includes a detailed examination of the long-term viability of certain locations. He would not specify which plants might be possible candidates for sale or closure.
The review follows Basell's decision to close polypropylene (PP) capacity earlier this year at Carrington in northwest England, Wesseling in Germany and Bayport, Texas to address what it described at the time as "a serious supply/demand imbalance in the PP industry".
Although Basell has just restarted production at the 180 000 tonne/year capacity Carrington plant, this has as much if not more to do with the planned closure for maintenance of a similar sized unit at Pernis, Netherlands as it has with any general improvement in the overall European PP market.
The Pernis unit is expected to be out for several weeks but its maintenance schedule is part of a rolling programme which is likely to see several Basell PP plants in Europe taken off line during the next few months. Basell has no immediate plans, however, to recommission the two 120 000 tonne/year joint capacity Novolen gas-phase PP lines at Wesseling. When Basell announced last December plans for their temporary closure it said they would remain shut for 12-18 months.
The review also follows Basell's sale of some 600 000 tonne/year of PP resins capacity and 130 000 tonne/year of compounding capacity to secure European Commission (EC) approval for the company's formation.
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