Shell to Close Ethylene Capacity at Wesseling

photo : eagleburgmann.com

Shell has announced that it will close the 2B Rheinland cracker in Wesseling, Germany, by the end of 2011 and cease benzene and toluene production from the unit before the end of 2012.

So far, European ethylene production has been left relatively intact, given the difficulties associated with its import.

However with Ineos having recently signalled that it may build a 1m tonne ethylene terminal at Antwerp, which would give a significant extra input to the ARG network, together with the large increase in global capacity coming from start-ups in the Middle East and Asia, this situation is surely under threat.

Shell's announcement is not a major surprise, with the Wesseling cracker being relatively small and uncompetitive. It would not be a surprise if more such announcements were to follow in the not-too-distant future.

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