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BASF restarts European petchem crackers after fires

February 03/2010
February, 03 (Reuters) - All three of German chemicals company BASF"s European petrochemical steam crackers are now online following two restarts in January after fires, a company spokesman told Reuters on Tuesday.

"All our crackers in Europe are running. The Antwerp cracker was restarted on Jan. 2, the Ludwigshafen cracker restarted on Jan. 29," a company spokesman said in an emailed statement.

The German cracker, one of two on the site with a capacity of 220,000 tonnes-a-year, was shut down on Dec. 23 after a fire. The larger 1 million tonne-a-year Antwerp cracker in Belgium was also shut for two weeks from Dec. 20.

Although the December shut downs were both due to accidents, the decision to restart them suggests cracking margins are improving in an industry that was hit hard by the recession.
Last year, BASF -- the world"s largest chemicals firm by sales -- mothballed one of the Ludwigshafen crackers for three months as part of a broad strategy to curb output in the face of weak demand.

The firm has recently increased its output capacity to 70 percent from 60 percent at the lowest point of the crisis, a management board member said last week.

       MRC Reference

BASF. The share in the Russian market in 2008:
 PS - 9.1% (GPPS - 5.9%, ABS - 11.4%, EPS - 10.6%).


Annual sales growth in Russia over the 5 years:
 PS - 15%.


Imports by polymers processing technologies:
 injection molding.

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