Equistar to idle Texas butadiene unit in 2010

Source: ICIS News

2009/08/21

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Equistar Chemicals plans to idle its Corpus Christi butadiene (BD) plant in Texas in 2010 due to changes in the feedstock of its cracker at the site, the producer said on Friday.

The announcement came as the company unveiled plans to move its Corpus Christi cracker to nearly all lighter feedstocks in 2010 because of cost advantages of natural gas liquids (NGLs) over other heavier feeds.

The cracker currently uses a mix of NGLs and other higher-cost feedstocks such as crude oil-based naphtha and condensate, Equistar said.

BD is extracted from crude C4, which is produced during the naphtha-cracking process.

Equistar has 100,000 tonnes/year of BD capacity in Corpus Christi, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

The unit will be taken off line at the conclusion of a maintenance turnaround at the cracker in first quarter of 2010, a LyondellBasell spokesperson said.

Equistar will remove the BD unit at a time when US prices have more than doubled since May, due to tight supplies.

Contracts in August settled at 60 cents/lb, up by 15 cents/lb from July, according to ICIS pricing.

Recently, Equistar parent company LyondellBasell nominated a September increase of 18 cents/lb.

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