Shell fire affects monomer production
HOUSTON — Shell Chemical Co. has declared force majeure on ethylene, propylene and butadiene as a result of a June 22 explosion and fire at its Deer Park, Texas, facility.
No one was injured in the blast, which occurred in the plant's olefins unit. The cause of the explosion and fire, as well as the extent of damage to the unit still is being determined, Shell spokeswoman Stacy Hutchison said.
The remainder of the plant — which produces 2 billion pounds of ethylene, 1 billion pounds of propylene, and 250 million pounds of butadiene each year — is still operational.
In a prepared statement, Charles Dunagan, Shell marketing and sales vice president, said the Houston-based company ``will work with all our affected customers to minimize the impact on their businesses and to resume normal supply levels as soon as inventories permit.'' Shell is unsure how long the force majeure will last.
Hutchison added the company can't speculate on how the shortages will affect production of such downstream products as polyethylene, polypropylene and ABS.
UTA Europe to shut wire systems plant
LONDONDERRY, NORTHERN IRELAND—UT Automotive is closing a wiring systems plant in Londonderry, blaming fierce competition in the European automotive parts market.
The UTA Europe plant employs 525, and serves major carmakers, including Jaguar, Ford and Peugeot. The plant primarily handles assembly of plastic electrical components.
The shutdown follows three years of mounting losses, several changes in senior management and attempts to reduce labor and other costs, according to a UTA Europe spokesman in Londonderry. The plant's work force, which had been trimmed by 93 people in January, was informed of the shutdown June 23.
UTA will shift work to plants in Spain and Portugal. Other European plants operated by Dearborn, Mich.-based UTA are in France, Spain, Hungary and Portugal. UTA is a unit of United Technologies Corp. in Hartford, Conn. According to the UTA Europe spokesman, losses at the 24-year-old Northern Ireland plant are due to top $3 million for the period from January to August.
Chinese firm mulls U.S. recycling venture
HOUSTON — One of China's largest privately owned companies is considering building a recycling plant in Houston, and has invested $2 million with its U.S. partner to buy a 100,000-square-foot facility.
But the venture, Jin Hai Cheer International, is not sure if it will open the facility because of the recent increases in resin production capacity in the United States and the Far East, and China's tightening of recycled imports, said Andy Mao, vice president of Cheer International, a Houston-based import and export firm.
Cheer's Chinese partner, Jin Hai, wants to import plastics for the wide range of goods it produces, ranging from suitcases to automobiles, Mao said. Jin Hai is based in Tian Jin, a commercial district near Beijing.
``We are evaluating the situation,'' Mao said. ``We almost got started.'' But market changes might have caused the firms to lose money if t