LyondellBasell has decided to close its polypropylene plant at Morris by the end of 2008, bringing to an end, 30 years of production. The small size of the polypropylene plant makes it uneconomical to operate. One polypropylene line was closed down late in 2007.
Production will be shifted to facilities in Lake Charles, La., and Pasadena, Texas. The three polypropylene lines at Pasadena, Texas, and the two in Lake Charles, La., use the industry -leading Spheripol process. The plants are more cost effective and enhance overall product quality.
The company will continue to operate the polyethylene portion of the Morris plant, as it is the larger part of the plant.
Lyondell merged with Basell in December 2007 and is privately owned by Access Industries and headquartered in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The Morris plant is part of the company's Equistar subsidiary. The company, then known as Northern Petrochemical, completed the polypropylene portion of the Morris plant in June of 1978.
Forty years ago, in April 1968, the company began construction of the first portion of the Morris plant, which produced ethylene oxide/ethylene glycol starting in July 1969. Ethylene oxide is used in detergents and ethylene glycol is the key ingredient in anti-freeze. Construction of the plastic resin portion of the plant began in December 1969, with production of low-density polyethylene starting in September 1971. In 1984, the company conducted a major upgrade at the plant to produce a linear low-density polyethylene called Norlin. In 1988, the company announced it was adding a second linear low-density polyethylene reactor. At the end of 1993, the company, then part of Hanson Plc., ended production of ethylene oxide/ethylene glycol at the Morris plant. In 1993, the company closed its polyethylene reactor in Tuscola, Ill. In 1996, Hanson split and the facility was known as Millennium Chemical briefly. In 1997, Millennium merged with Lyondell and the plant became Equistar.
In 1997, an agreement with NRG Energy was announced for a co-generation unit at the Morris plant, which would produce low-cost electricity. It began operating in 1999.