German authority wants review of Bayer carbon monoxide pipeline

10 March 2010 19:46  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Bayer MaterialScience’s carbon monoxide (CO) pipeline in Germany is likely to face further delay after a regional authority said on Wednesday it found that steel materials other than those approved had been used to build parts of the project.

Bezirksregierung Dusseldorf said it took the view that a new approval process, with public participation, was required.

The 67km (42 mile) pipeline, which is almost complete, connects Bayer’s chemical production hubs at Krefeld-Uerdingen and Dormagen in North-Rhine Westphalia state. Bayer needs the carbon monoxide to make plastics and other products.

Bayer said in a statement the project would not be started up until all approvals had been obtained.

Project manager Werner Breuer said the company planned - as an additional voluntary measure – to cover the pipeline with a second protective grid to further increase its safety.

However, the company remained convinced the even as built, the pipeline was safe, he said.

“We are exceeding the legal requirements, this pipeline sets new standards globally in terms of its safety,” Breuer said.

While many in industry and politics have described the project as very important for the state’s chemical and plastic production, it has been vehemently opposed by many nearby residents.

Commentators noted the pipeline was bound to feature prominently in May's upcoming state election in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state.

State premier Jurgen Ruttgers and his coalition government between the Christian Democrats and the pro-business Liberal party have repeatedly backed the project.

However, recent polls indicate that a coalition between the opposition Social Democrats and the Greens could garner enough votes to topple Ruttgers. A number of Social Democrats and Greens have come out against the pipeline.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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