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Ineos Styrolution to Shutter Styrene Production Plant in Ontario

CEO Steve Harrington says facility is “no longer an economically viable operating asset.”

Norbert Sparrow

June 11, 2024

2 Min Read
 chain locking a factory gate
Bill Pugliano/Stringer via Getty Images News

Ineos Styrolution announced today that it will permanently close its styrene monomer production site in Sarnia, ON, by June 2026. Approximately 80 employees will be affected. The announcement comes on the heels of a recent force majeure declaration stemming from a mechanical issue that, Reuters reported at the time, remained unspecified.

Plant shut down since April 20.

In April, Canada’s Aamjiwnaang First Nation declared a state of emergency resulting from an alleged benzene leak at the facility. At least 10 people reportedly were hospitalized for breathing problems and headaches. Provincial officials ordered Ineos to investigate the cause of the leak on April 18, and the plant has been shut down since April 20, reported Reuters. The decision to definitively close the plant, however, was unrelated to this incident, according to Ineos CEO Steve Harrington.

“This difficult business decision to permanently close our Sarnia site was made following a lengthy evaluation process and is based on the economics of the facility within a wider industry context,” Harrington said in a prepared statement. “The long-term prospects for the Sarnia site have worsened to the point that it is no longer an economically viable operating asset. The production site in Sarnia is currently shut down due to recent orders from regulatory authorities that forced us to declare force majeure. We are currently assessing what is required to restart the site — a process that could take approximately six months."

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Required investments economically impractical.

“Our decision to permanently close the Sarnia site by June 2026 is irrespective of the current situation,” added Harrington. “The economic reality is that we have made significant investments in the Sarnia site for many years to ensure safe and reliable operations. Additional large investments that are unrelated to the potential costs of restarting operations would be necessary in the near future. Such investments would be economically impractical given today’s challenging industry environment.”

The Ontario facility was built in 1943 and came under Ineos Styrolution’s ownership in 2014. It has a nameplate capacity of 430 kta of styrene monomer and has approximately 80 employees and a large number of contractors, according to Ineos Styrolution.

Company committed to orderly wind-down process.

In its announcement, Ineos Styrolution said it would work closely with all necessary parties to complete an orderly wind-down process and a permanent closure of the site in a safe, responsible, and compliant manner. “Aligned with our core value of ‘Valuing and Respecting People,’ transition support will be provided to impacted employees,” the company said.

The world’s leading styrenics supplier, Ineos Styrolution operates 17 production sites in nine countries and employs approximately 3,000 people. The company reported €4.5 billion in sales in 2023.

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.

www.linkedin.com/in/norbertsparrow

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