Affected by a weakening demand, BASF announced a minimum 3-month provisional shut down of its 220,000 mtpa capacity steam cracker at Ludwigshafen site starting mid-April. Dr. Albert Heuser, President of BASF's Petrochemicals division, commented, "We do not expect any improvement in the foreseeable future, for example for production lines that serve the automotive industry. We are therefore tailoring production to reflect demand and to reduce costs."
On the whole, a total of five production lines are currently idled at the Ludwigshafen Verbund site, and an additional 60 production lines are operating at very low capacity utilization rates making the worldwide capacity reduction worldwide more than 25%. The employees from the steam cracker can be transferred to other production plants at the site for the time being. Since first implementing capacity reductions in November, BASF has been using flexible working time arrangements wherever possible, which also includes transferring employees between plants with varying capacity utilization rates.