Chemical companies are closing plants and abandoning projects as the impact of COVID-19 deepens. Solvay will close composite materials facilities in Manchester, England, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, in response to a drop in demand resulting from COVID-19. About 570 employees—20% of Solvay’s composites workforce—are set to lose their jobs as a result of the closures, along with other positions across the business. Solvay says the measures will cost $32 million but generate annual savings of $64 million. Borealis has ditched plans for a $6.8 billion petrochemical project in Atyrau, Kazakhstan, featuring a steam cracker and polyethylene plant because of the effects of the pandemic and an increasingly uncertain market outlook. The complex had been scheduled to start up in 2026. Meanwhile, Arkema recently reduced its planned capital expenditures for 2020 by $108 million and its fixed costs by $54 million to help it weather market conditions caused by COVID-19. Lanxess has cut its planned capital spending for 2020 by $54 million.
C&EN has made this story and all of its coverage of the coronavirus epidemic freely available during the outbreak to keep the public informed. To support our journalism, become a member of ACS or sign up for C&EN's weekly newsletter.