Shell to close 240kt of ethylene at Wesseling by end of 2011

29 September 2010 16:24  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Shell Chemicals will stop running its 2B Rheinland cracker in Wesseling, Germany, by the end of 2011 and cease benzene and toluene production from the unit before the end of 2012, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.

Shell’s ethylene production in Germany will also drop with the sale of its Heide refinery and associated chemicals units to the family-held investment group Klesch. A binding agreement on the Heide refinery with Klesch, which owns commodity-related assets in Europe, was struck in August.

The Heide cracker is rated at 108,000 tonnes/year of ethylene capacity by ICIS.

The Shell 2B cracker at Wesseling is small by current standards, old and not competitive, the Shell spokesman said. “We don’t anticipate any impact on customers [of the closures],” he added.

The slightly larger 2A cracker at Wesseling is fed on what Shell calls “advantaged feed” (competitively priced liquid or gas feedstock) executive vice president, chemicals, Ben Van Beurden said this week. The cracker would be upgraded “over time”, he suggested.

The 2B cracker is rated at 240,000 tonnes/year by ICIS and the 2A cracker at 260,000 tonnes/year.

Shell is likely to lose more chemicals production capacity in Europe if the UK Stanlow refinery is sold although Shell’s higher olefins plant at the site would be retained, Van Beurden said.

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By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214

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