Germany court clears way for completion of ethylene pipeline

26 August 2010 15:22  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--A German state administrative court has cleared the way for the completion of a 360km ethylene pipeline to connect BASF’s petrochemicals hub in Ludwigshafen with chemical producers at sites in Munchsmunster, Gendorf and Burghausen in southern Germany, it said on Thursday.

In overruling a lower-court decision, the Baden-Wurttemberg administrative court dismissed a farmer’s complaint against state legislation allowing for expropriations and right-of-ways, thus paving the way for the completion of the final 6.5km stretch of the pipeline, it said in a statement.

Ethylen-Pipeline-Sud, the joint venture building the project, said it now expected to complete the pipeline by the end of the year and to start up operations by the middle of 2011.

The court cited overriding public interest considerations that outweighed the interests of the objecting property owner.

Importantly, the pipeline would strengthen the chemical and petrochemical industry in Baden-Wurttemberg, it said.

Construction of the project was completed in both Rhineland Palatine and Bavaria, and in Baden-Wurttemberg the project’s proponents had obtained 97% of the necessary right-of-ways, the court said.

“There are legitimate concerns that a further delay would jeopardise legislators’ objectives, in particular in terms of retaining and creating jobs in the south German petrochemicals industry,” it said in its ruling.

In an earlier report, the Baden-Wurttemberg state parliament said the pipeline would in particular benefit Germany’s largest refinery, Mineralolraffinerie Oberrhein (MIRO) in Karlsruhe.

The pipeline would provide a market for some 80,000 tonnes/year of ethylene MIRO already produces but is forced to burn in on-site heat generation because it lacks a pipeline connection.

The European Commission in 2006 approved a subsidy for the project by the neighbouring Bavaria state government because of the pipeline’s importance in building a European-wide ethylene supply network.

Ethylen-Pipeline Sud stakeholders include BASF, OMV, Wacker, Vinnolit, Borealis, Clariant and LyondellBasell.

For more on BASF, Borealis and other producers visit ICIS company intelligence
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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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