10 September 2001 00:00 [Source: ICB]
BP has brought forward the closure of its 100 000 tonne/ year ldPE plant at Wilton, UK, following an incident which occurred at the plant on 25 August while it was being brought back from maintenance, a company source confirmed.
The plant, which was due to close permanently in early October, suffered a decomposition problem. BP decided not to bring the plant back up as the cause of the problem could not be immediately identified.
BP has signed a deal with Basell to cover its low density polyethylene (ldPE) commitments from the Wilton plant. It has agreed to sell a range of products from Basell's plants in Carrington, UK, and Aubette, France. Other clients will be supplied from BP's 350 000 tonne/ year autoclave unit at its Erdölchemie subsidiary in Germany.
Observers do not expect the closure to have a major impact on the European market. The UK's large film converters will be most affected, with Basell now operating the country's sole facility. BP says age and high production and maintenance costs have made the Wilton unit unprofitable.
Players said other similar small plants may close as the ldPE market is suffering from poor prices and margins. Meanwhile, producers have announced a E100/tonne rise from September. They believe prices, which have fallen in the last three months to hit DM1.60-1.65/kg, have reached the bottom.
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