Following an intensive assessment of the safety status and in close coordination with the Southern Structure and Licensing Directorate (Struktur- und Genehmigungsdirektion Süd), both steamcrackers at BASF in Ludwigshafen will be gradually restarted over the next few days. During the restart process, excess gases will be burned off through flaring. In the early hours of October 20, 2016 and over the next few days, this will most likely result in flaring and increased noise in the northern part of the site.
Both steamcrackers were shut down as a result of a fire in the North Harbor on October 17, 2016, due to the interruption in raw material supply. As a result, additional Verbund plants in the ethylene and propylene value chains were shut down or production reduced. In total, 24 plants have been shut down, including both steamcrackers, due to the fire. Some of the plants were able to continue producing using existing raw material inventory.
BASF is currently preparing an alternative naphtha supply for the steamcrackers via the harbor on Friesenheim Island. This supply is decoupled from the incident area. When the steamcrackers are started up, most of the affected plants will also be gradually restarted or will increase production over the next few days.
The fire damaged various pipelines including those for externally purchased raw materials. Therefore, BASF has declared Force Majeure for the purchase of naphtha, ethylene and propylene.
Currently, various measures are being evaluated to minimize the impact on customer deliveries. BASF is in close contact with its customers to keep them informed about the current availability of products.
Status of logistics
The North Harbor is currently not operational. The riverside harbor, the harbor on Friesenheim Island and the tank farms are functional. Fluids can be handled at the harbor on Friesenheim Island. At the river harbor fluids and solids can be handled.
Gate 15 is currently closed. Trucks that arrive at the site should drive to the parking area of the sewage plant. There they will receive further instructions from BASF employees and will be forwarded to gates 12, 11 and 6 for dispatch.
The intermodal transport terminal is currently closed for safety reasons. The facility is not damaged and can be accessed after being cleared. The railway system was also not damaged by the incident. The train service on-site is available. The incoming and outgoing rail traffic is being handled via the southern exit, since the northern exit is currently closed due to safety reasons. The passenger traffic between the Ludwigshafen main station and the site is available.