OQ Restarts Production at German Plants

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(Editor’s note: The original headline for this article, contained in the e-mail version of this week’s issue, stated erroneously that OQ had lifted its March 4 force majeure declaration. Although production at the German plants has resumed, the declaration remains in effect.)

OQ Chemicals today announced the restart of production at its German plants in Oberhausen and Marl after overcoming a recent disruption at a raw material supplier’s gas plant.

That had led to a force majeure declaration March 4 for certain products, including some that can be used as a building block in lubricants. A company spokesperson noted to Lube Report that while production has restarted at OQ Chemicals’ German plants, the force majeure cannot yet be lifted.

During the operational pause, OQ Chemicals said it implemented enhancements to optimize production processes, such as data flows and work processes, across asset management, operations technology, and engineering.

“We are pleased to report that our units in Germany can ramp up again,” OQ Chemicals Chief Operating Officer Albrecht Schwerin said in a press release. “The unpredictable shutdown has not been an easy time for us, especially since we have been experiencing high levels of customer demand.” He added that OQ used other plants to offset the impact of the disruption in Germany.

On March 4, the company had said the problem stemmed from a Feb. 27 accident at the unit that supplies synthesis gas to OQ as raw material for further processing. The affected unit of the raw material supplier was automatically shut down.

The stoppage in synthesis gas production had led to supply constraints for certain products manufactured by OQ chemicals in Germany.

Impacted products with applications in lubricant production included neopentyl glycol and isononanoic acid. Neopentyl glycol can be used in making products such as synthetic lubricants, greases, hydraulic fluids and metalworking fluids. Isononanoic acids are carboxylic acids that can be used to make synthetic polyol ester-based lubricants that are used in industries such as refrigeration and aviation.

Other products impacted by the force majeure declaration include isobutyraldehyde, n-butyraldehyde, n-butanol, i-butanol, 2-ethylhexanol, n-butyl acetate, n-butylamine (all grades), TCD Alcohol DM, n-propionaldehyde, isovaleraldehyde, 2-methylbutyric acid, 2-ethylhexanoic acid, n-butyric acid, isobutyric acid, isopentanoic acid, isovaleric acid, n-valeric acid, OXSOFT 3G8 and OXFILM 351.

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