MOSCOW (MRC) -- Start-up of the 625,000-metric tons/year steam cracker operated by Borealis at Stenungsund, Sweden, is now "in process," but the declaration of force majeure remains in place, reported Chemweek with reference to a company spokesperson's statement to OPIS Tuesday.
"The force majeure on our cracker is still in place. Start-up of the cracker is in process, however this is a complex procedure that needs time," Borealis said in an emailed statement to OPIS.
Restarting the cracker could take several weeks, according to Matthew Thoelke, research and analysis director/global olefins at IHS Markit. "The restart of steam crackers after an outage can often take some time, and with prolonged outages, the challenges are often significant," Thoelke said.
Force majeure at Stenungsund was declared after a fire started at the cracker on 10 May last year. A restart of the cracker was initially planned for the fourth quarter of 2020, a Borealis spokesperson told OPIS in September.
Some crackers in Europe have undergone highly problematic restarts, and have taken several months to achieve full operational capacity, according to Thoelke. "The start-up process, if everything goes smoothly, could take a few days before on-spec production is achieved. However, start-ups can often highlight or introduce additional issues and the process can take several weeks," said Thoelke.
Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).
According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia decreased in January-November 2020 by 17% year on year and reached 569,900 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the greatest reduction in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia increased by 21% year on year to about 202,000 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2020. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.
Borealis is a leading provider of innovative solutions in the fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilizers. With headquarters in Vienna, Austria, Borealis currently employs around 6,500 and operates in over 120 countries.