Price and market trends: INEOS to continue operating France HDPE despite Total cracker closure

23 September 2013 00:00  [Source: ICB]

INEOS’ high density polyethylene (HDPE) plant at Sarralbe in northeast France will be able to continue to operate despite the planned closure of Total’s 320,000 tonne/year Carling naphtha cracker in the second half of 2015, INEOS said on 10 September.

INEOS spokesman Richard Longden told ICIS that as part of the announcement to close the cracker, Total had said it would invest in the logistics necessary to ensure the delivery of ethylene and propylene to its customers in the region.



INEOS says feedstock will still be delivered to tis Sarralbe plant

“This potentially allows INEOS to operate the Sarralbe HDPE plant beyond the Carling cracker closure” in 2015, Longden said.

“Although information is somewhat limited at this time, we generally welcome the commitment from Total to invest in the logistics necessary to ensure the delivery of ethylene and propylene to customers in the region, which should allow these assets to continue to operate after the closure of the Carling cracker in 2015,” he added.

INEOS’ polypropylene (PP) unit at Sarralbe has not been supplied by the Carling cracker for many years and therefore is not impacted by the planned cracker closure, he said.

Longden also said that INEOS is “considering a number of strategic options for the supply of ethylene beyond 2015”.


An economics and social advisory council for France’s Lorraine region, CESE Lorraine, suggested that INEOS and other regional downstream chemical producers could be supplied by building a feedstock pipeline from BASF’s petrochemicals and naphtha cracking hub across the border in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

According to INEOS’ website, the company has production capacities for 195,000 tonnes/year of HDPE and 90,000 tonnes/year of PP at Sarralbe.


Total confirmed on 4 September that it will shut down the naphtha cracker at its site in Carling, northern France.

The unit was described by the France-based oil and gas major described as “acutely loss-making”. The closure will lead to a net loss of 210 jobs from the site’s 554 headcount without redundancies.

Of the 344 jobs to be maintained at the platform, 110 will come from the planned upgrades, Total added.

“The European petrochemicals market is facing continued overcapacity and growing international competition. In such context, it is our industrial responsibility to anticipate and adapt our production capacities to demand,” the company said.


Total plans to develop new activities on the site in order to “restore its competitiveness”.

It plans to construct a new production unit for C4 resins, while the existing C9 resins unit for adhesives will be transformed to produce transparent resins.

Total is also planning to renovate polymer production at the site, including the creation of a new thermoplastics unit to produce automotive plastics.

Author: Stefan Baumgarten and Tom Brown

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