Kuwait’s Equate Petrochemical Company announced on 5 November that it has restarted a 550,000 tons/year capacity ethylene glycol plant that was shut down after a fire on 31 July. The company said it had “restarted the unit at an earlier date than the previously announced mid-November target.” Immediately after the fire, which was the result of a leak from the plant, Equate said that production from other units was “unaffected and ongoing.” Equate’s Shuaiba complex comprises an 850,000 t/y ethylene cracker, an 850,000 t/y polyethylene plant, a 290,000 t/y ethylene oxide unit and two 550,000 t/y ethylene glycol units.

The plant restart was a rare piece of recent good news for Kuwait’s downstream sector, which has been held back by a long-running dispute between the government and parliament. Arbitration continues over cancellation of the planned $17.4bn K-Dow petrochemicals production and marketing joint venture between Equate’s major equity holders Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) and US firm Dow Chemical in late December 2008. This was attributed to a combination of opposition within the Kuwaiti parliament and a decline in value of the planned venture’s assets because of the growing global financial crisis at the time (MEES, 5 January 2009). (CONTINUED - 266 WORDS)