LyondellBasell to stop producing polypropylene at its Morris, Illinois plant

Access Industries-owned petrochemical giant LyondellBasell Industries yesterday announced closure of its polypropylene unit at its Morris, Ill plant in the fourth quarter of 2008. It said production would be shifted to other sites and polyethylene production at the site will not be affected.

According to reports the fluid catalytic cracking unit's first-stage compressor, shut down in mid-March, could not be restarted. The company had said the cracker was estimated to be out of service until mid-April.

LyondellBasell said in a statement the 268,000-barrels per day refinery will operate at reduced rates during this outage.

"The decision to stop polypropylene production at our Morris plant supports LyondellBasell's long-term strategy to rationalise and concentrate production in our industry-leading Spheripol and Spherizone process facilities," said Yves Bonte, senior vice president of LyondellBasell's polypropylene business.

LyondellBasell currently operates three polypropylene lines in Pasadena, Texas, and two polypropylene lines in Lake Charles, La. All of these units use Spheripol process technology. LyondellBasell's joint venture Indelpro, located in Mexico, operates a Spheripol process line and is building a new 350 KT Spherizone polypropylene plant at Altamira which is scheduled to start up later this year.

Yves added, "In today's competitive environment, economies of scale and the ability to produce innovative, differentiated products are essential for business growth. In addition to being more cost effective, this will also allow us to improve our portfolio of grades and enhance overall product quality which will benefit our customers."
LyondellBasell Industries is one of the world's largest polymers, petrochemicals and fuels companies.

LyondellBasell is a global leader in polyolefins technology, production and marketing; a pioneer in propylene oxide and derivatives; and a significant producer of fuels and refined products, including bio-fuels. Through research and development, LyondellBasell develops innovative materials and technologies that deliver exceptional customer value and products that improve quality of life for people around the world. Headquartered in The Netherlands, LyondellBasell is privately owned by Access Industries.