Sabic cuts Gelsenkirchen PE output by 50%

Author: Linda Naylor

2005/09/08

BP refineryLONDON (ICIS news)--Sabic has cut polyethylene (PE) output by half and reduced polypropylene (PP) production at Gelsenkirchen, Germany due to feedstock restrictions caused by BPRP's cracker problems, a Sabic source said on Thursday.

Sabic has a bi-modal high density polyethylene (hdPE) plant with an annual capacity of 120,000 tonne/year and a 350,000 tonne/year swing linear low density polyethylene (lldPE)/hdPE unit at Gelsenkirchen.

It has two polypropylene units at Gelsenkirchen with a combined nameplate capacity of 450,000 tonne/year. Output has been reduced since yesterday but restrictions are not as severe as on PE and Sabic expects to fulfill all its obligations to PP customers.

The reduction of PE output was expected to exacerbate an already tight market and prices were already increasing further for September. All hdPE grades were reported at a minimum of Euro1,000/tonne FD NWE (free delivered Northwest Europe) this week, up by as much as Euro100/tonne from August.

Sabic's Gelsenkirchen polyolefns plants rely on output from BPRP (BP Refining and Petrochemicals). BPRP declared force majeure on ethylene and propylene earlier this week following the unplanned shutdown of Olefins 4, one of its two crackers at Gelsenkirchen, over the weekend of 3-4 September. Early indications were that the plant may be back on stream by this weekend (10-11 September).