Shell’s Moerdijk Cracker Still Down After Blaze
Shell’s cracker at Moerdijk in the Netherlands remains off line following a small compressor fire in a compressor on Nov. 11. The oil and petrochemical group so far has not disclosed when the facility with capacity to produce 900,000 t/y of ethylene, 500,000 t/y of propylene and 115,000 t/y of butadiene will go back on stream but market insiders predict that it will be down at least until the beginning of December. Shell has not declared force majeure.
This is the second outage of the cracker in the recent past. Taken off line in October 2014, due to a fire, the facility only returned to production in mid-July of this year. The SM/PO plant at the same site owned by Shell’s Ellba joint venture with BASF, went down in June 2014 and customers have been on allocation since then. According to reports, the plant will come back on line by the end of this year or the beginning of next year.
In a scathing report on the Ellba incident, the Dutch safety board said Shell, which operates the Moerdik site, did not follow internal procedures, did not learn sufficient lessons from previous incidents and made incorrect assumptions about basic chemical reactions.