INEOS Olefins & Polymers Europe (Rolle, Switzerland) is considering selling its Rosignano, Italy and Sarralbe, France high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plants as part of a broader strategic review. European resin manufacturers, which largely rely on petroleum-derived naphtha for key monomers like ethylene, have been at a huge cost disadvantage to North American firms that utilize natural gas for their petrochemical feedstocks at a time when shale gas exploitation has pushed gas prices to extremely low levels.
Anne-Gret Iturriaga Abarzua, INEOS communications manager, told PlasticsToday that despite that challenge, European petrochemical companies do have a path forward. "I believe that European producers can remain competitive but they need top quartile assets or a differentiated portfolio," Abarzua said. "Since we acquired both sites, we have significantly improved their performance such that today both sites are highly 'cycle-resistant' producing a sophisticated range of differentiated polymers with top quartile SHE, reliability and cost leadership. Today, both sites are top quartile, profitable and cash generative."...