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BASF announced that steamcrackers are slowly being restarted at the company’s plant in Ludwigshafen.
Following a fire and explosion on Oct. 17, 2016 that left three dead at a BASF plant in Ludwigshafen, the company said steamcrackers will gradually be restarted. In an Oct. 20, 2016 press announcement, BASF said that following an intense assessment of the safety status and in close coordination with the Southern Structure and Licensing Directorate, both steamcrackers at BASF will gradually be restarted over the next few days.
Both steamcrackers were shut down as a result of the fire, due to the interruption in raw material supply. As a result, additional plants in the ethylene and propylene value chains were shut down or production reduced. In total, 24 plants have been shut down, including both steamcrackers, due to the fire. Some of the plants were able to continue producing using existing raw material inventory.
BASF is currently preparing an alternative naphtha supply for the steamcrackers via the harbor on Friesenheim Island. This supply is decoupled from the incident area. When the steamcrackers are started up, most of the affected plants will also be gradually restarted or will increase production over the next few days. The fire damaged various pipelines including those for externally purchased raw materials. Therefore, BASF has declared Force Majeure for the purchase of naphtha, ethylene, and propylene. Various measures are being evaluated to minimize the impact on customer deliveries. BASF is in close contact with its customers to keep them informed about the current availability of products.