Ineos Delays Forties Pipeline Shutdown

15.04.2020 -

Due to the coronavirus crisis, Ineos has postponed the planned annual maintenance shutdown of its UK North Sea Forties Pipeline for almost a year, to assure its chemical feedstock customers of sufficient supply amid British government virus containment restrictions.

The shutdown was initially planned for mid-June then delayed until August. Pipeline operator Ineos FPS said it is now scheduled for spring 2021, with the exact date to be announced closer to the time.

Ineos said it will continue to work with customers and all relevant parties to prepare for the shutdown of the pipeline that supplies chemicals and plastics producers in northern England and southern Scotland.

During the ongoing pandemic, the Swiss-domiciled olefins and polyolefins group is emerging as a major producer of hand sanitizer, with three bases already established in the UK, Germany and France to supply hospitals and pharmacies. A second French facility is to be inaugurated shortly. Each plant will produce 1 million bottles.

By its own account, the world’s largest manufacturer of isopropanol and ethanol, the two raw materials for hand sanitisers, Ineos said is also beginning to manufacture the end-product to help alleviate a European shortage.

Dow, another petrochemicals giant, has also become a manufacturer of hand sanitizer and disinfectant products, with five of its manufacturing sites in Belgium, Germany and Brazil,  in addition to the US, set to produce altogether more than 880,000 bottles holding 240 ml, for donation to hospitals and first responders battling the pandemic.

Numerous other international chemical producers have adapted production capacities to make sanitising and disinfection products. The lengthening list includes BASF, Lanxess, Perstorp, Huntsman, Henkel, Sasol, Mol, Oxea and Firmenich. Some of the companies are also producing face masks.