US Westlake idles Louisiana ethylene plant

17 December 2008 13:42  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Westlake Chemical is idling one of its ethylene plants in Lake Charles, Louisiana, because of weak demand, the Houston-based producer said on Wednesday.

Westlake cited “significant customer inventory destocking” that resulted in weakened demand for the company's derivative products.

The ethylene plant would be idled until demand recovers, Westlake said.

A maintenance turnaround scheduled for the plant for the first half of 2009 would be brought forward to be performed during the down time, it said.

All of Westlake’s plants have been operating at reduced rates since the third quarter of this year due to the general weakened demand, Westlake said.

The decline in demand was the result of the continued deterioration in the US and global economies and a reaction to the sharp product price declines due to the collapse in energy and feedstock prices, it added.

"The slowing economic environment is having a more substantial impact on consumer demand and the entire supply chain than previously anticipated, resulting in reduced volumes and margins in our businesses," said CEO Albert Chao.

"Our balance sheet and liquidity remain strong and we will build on that strong financial position and continue prudent financial discipline in response to current market challenges,” he added.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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