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Jan/Feb 2009

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Braskem and Equistar restarting olefins units
While the American operations of polymer giant LyondellBasell are filing for Chapter 11, one of its indirectly owned subsidiaries Equistar Chemicals says it plans to restart its olefins unit La Porte, Texas, by the end of January.

The plant, with a capacity of 770,000 tonnes of ethylene and 320,000 tonnes of propylene, was shut down in October because of the “declining market and economic conditions.”

Since the demand for petrochemical derivatives is showing signs of improvement in the first quarter “after extremely weak demand late in the fourth quarter”, the company says it needs the additional capacity from La Porte to satisfy its demand. Equistar also temporarily shut down an olefins plant at Chocolate Bayou, Texas, in December. This will remain close until further notice.

Meanwhile, Brazilian Braskem says it will restart its naphtha cracker, which is situated at the Triunfo Complex in Rio Grande do Sul in Southern Brazil. The 720,000 tonnes/year cracker was one of two units that were shut down in December because of the declining demand for ethylene.

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