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#BP will attempt to sell north #Alabama petrochemicals facility

#BP will attempt to sell north #Alabama petrochemicals facility
November 18
09:40 2015

One of the world’s leading producers of oil and gas says it will try to sell its petrochemicals facility in north Alabama.

BP announced Tuesday it will market for sale its Decatur plant “as part of a broader reorganization” of its global petrochemicals business. The complex operates on 1,000 acres just outside the Decatur city limits and can make 1 million tons per year of purified terephthalic acid, or PTA, for the production of polyester.

Rita Griffin, chief operating officer of BP Global Petrochemicals, said the decision to sell the Decatur site “was not taken lightly.”

“We believe the site — and its more than 400 employees — would be a very attractive addition to the portfolio of another operator,” she said. “We’re determined to find a buyer who will recognize its value and keep it a viable and vibrant part of the region for years to come.”

Three of BP’s five operating units in Decatur make PTA, one manufactures paraxylene (PX), a raw material for PTA production, and another makes naphthalene dicarboxylate (NDC), a chemical used in new-generation polyesters and resins for LCD flat-panel displays, ultra-thin data storage tape and other products.

BP, which acquired the Decatur complex in 1998 after merging with Amoco, said it is spending $200 million to improve its Cooper River, S.C., and Geel, Belgium facilities, both of which are the largest PTA-producing sites in the Americas and Europe.

The upgrades in South Carolina and Belgium will allow for lower operating costs, better reliability and reduced emissions. BP said the Decatur location no longer fits with its “refocused petrochemicals strategy.”

“Our strategy is to significantly improve the cash breakeven performance of the business, enhancing earnings potential and making it more resilient to bottom-of-cycle conditions,” said Tufan Erginbilgic, chief executive of BP’s global downstream business.

The Decatur plant celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. BP announced in December 2013 it would spend up to $95 million on a capital investment project in Decatur that would improve the site’s chemical production and manufacturing capabilities.

 

 

Lucy Berry | lberry@al.comBy Lucy Berry | lberry@al.com
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Source:  AL 

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