Part of a unit making plastics feedstocks ethylene and propylene was impacted by a May 10 fire at a Shell Chemical oil refinery and chemicals plant in Wesseling, Germany.
A Shell spokeswoman confirmed May 12 that a fire broke out in a furnace at the site at around 2:20 p.m. May 10 and was extinguished shortly after 9 p.m. that same day. She added that no injuries were reported.
Air quality wasn't affected by smoke from the fire, the spokeswoman said. Shell declined to comment on the operational status of the affected unit, but the spokeswoman said the fire didn't result in a total site shutdown, and that the production of gasoline and diesel fuel at the site wasn't affected.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. The chemicals portion of the refinery makes plastics feedstocks ethylene, propylene and benzene. Its annual ethylene production capacity is estimated at about 570 million pounds.
Any feedstock outage could worsen an already-tight European resin market. At least six resin makers in the region have declared force majeure supply limits since mid-March, leading to higher resin prices and drawing criticism from European plastic trade groups.