BP Reopens LAO Plant


BP Chemical reopened its Pasadena, Texas, linear alphaolefin plant last week – just a month after halting production because of rising costs and poor market conditions.

Although natural gas costs have dropped over the past month, BP acknowledged that the business environment for LAOs remains unattractive, with surplus supply depressing margins. The company said it resumed production April 1 in order to meet contractual obligations. The plant closed Feb. 28.

After sitting down with some of our customers, we decided to restart production in order to meet our supply commitments, spokesperson Marti Snyder said. She added that BP will continue to evaluate the operation on a monthly basis.

The Pasadena plant has capacity to produce 500,000 metric tons per year of LAOs, including decene, the main feedstock for polyalphaolefin synthetic base stocks. BP sends some of the decene from Pasadena to its PAO plant in Deer Park, Texas, and sells the rest on the open market.

BP also operates LAO plants in Joffre, Canada, and Feluy, Belgium, with annual capacities of 250,000 and 300,000 metric tons, respectively.

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