BASF shuts down Antwerp cracker due to fire

21 December 2009 13:20  [Source: ICIS news]

BASF cracker at AntwerpLONDON (ICIS news)--A fire at BASF’s cracker in Antwerp, Belgium, has forced the German chemical major to shut down the facility, but the company has not declared force majeure, a BASF source said on Monday.

The fire occurred on the morning of 20 December and there were no reports of injuries, according to the source.

The source said that it expected the cracker to be down for four to five days, but added that it was very early to make a prognosis as the cause of the fire was still under investigation.

The company had not yet declared force majeure on cracker products and was “trying to avoid doing so, but that it was difficult as there were few spare volumes”, the source said.

An update on the status of the cracker would most likely be available on 22 December, the source said.

BASF’s Antwerp cracker is the largest in Europe, with the capacity to produce 1.08m tonnes/year of ethylene (C2) and 650,000 tonnes/year of propylene (C3), according to the ICIS plants and projects database.

The outage could complicate January contract negotiations, which remain ongoing.

Last week, INEOS declared forces majeures on C2 and C3 supplies out of its site at Cologne, Germany, following an outage at its No 4 cracker.

Sellers had been targeting price increases based on firm naphtha and improved demand expectations. They could revise these targets if supply looked likely to be further restricted.

For more on BASF visit ICIS company intelligence
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By: Nel Weddle
+44 20 8652 3214

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