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Fina Antwerp Olefins NV to halt a naphtha cracker next month

March 02/2011

(Bloomberg) -- Fina Antwerp Olefins NV, a petrochemical venture of Total SA and Exxon Mobil Corp., will halt a naphtha cracker next month for planned maintenance, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Naphtha cracker 3 will be idled at the site in Belgium from the end of March, they said, declining to be named because the information is confidential. The shutdown will last for as long as six weeks, one of the people said. The cracker can produce 610,000 metric tons of ethylene a year, according to the Association of Petrochemicals Producers in Europe. Ethylene is used in plastics products from car parts to carrier bags.

Naphtha cracker 2 at the same site in Antwerp was shut for a few hours on Feb. 25 because of pressure problems, one of the people said. The unit can produce 550,000 tons of ethylene annually, according to the associations website.

The Antwerp site has three naphtha crackers. Cracker 1 is the smallest with a capacity of 255,000 tons a year. Total and Exxon declined to comment on the crackers, referring questions to the joint venture.

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