Chemical Parks Covestro Shuts Down MDI-Production in Tarragona, Spain

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Bayer spin-off Covestro plans to shut down its MDI plant in Tarragona, Spain. The remaining assets shall, nevertheless, be retained as a chemical park and center for Polyurethane systems.

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Covestro plans to close the MDI plant in Tarragona, but retain the site as chemical park and center for Polyurethane systems.
Covestro plans to close the MDI plant in Tarragona, but retain the site as chemical park and center for Polyurethane systems.
(Picture: Covestro)

Tarragona/Spain – The MDI production in Tarragona with an annual capacity of 170,000 metric tons shall be shut down by he end of 2017 due to not being competitive. The closure of MDI activities affects 120 jobs, Covestro stated. Other activities at the site, which comprise a local polyurethane systems house, hydrochloric acid logistics and infrastructure facilities are to be retained. The current infrastructure facilities will continue to be available to other companies at the chemical park.

A competitive future supply of the site with chlorine, which is an essential element of the MDI production process, played a role in the context of these considerations. To ensure the long-term competitiveness of MDI production in Europe, the company intensively considered different options before deciding to invest directly in its strategic core products, isocyanates, and to most likely expand production at another existing European site where there is already a modern and reliable supply of chlorine.

Chemical Park with new Development Opportunities

“In the interest of our company, we have to continuously work on our competitiveness. This also includes an optimal positioning of our production operations as a basic prerequisite for maintaining our leading competitive positions,” said Dr. Joachim Wolff, Head of the Covestro Polyurethanes Business Unit.

“The planned closure of the MDI plant in Tarragona is a painful step that was not taken lightly. The chemical park will have new opportunities for development as a hydrochloric acid logistics center for Spain. And with our infrastructure, it remains attractive to new tenants.”

Tarragona to Become Hub for Hydrochloric Acids

Covestro believes that the planned establishment of an HCl hub – a hydrochloric acid logistics center – presents good opportunities to continue its business on the Spanish market for hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid is used for various activities such as the treatment of ores, the processing of metals and water treatment.

Jesus Loma-Ossorio, Head of Covestro in Iberia, is also focused on the potential new prospects. “The Tarragona site will be retained and is open to new external investments. With our two sites in Tarragona and Barcelona, Covestro will remain an important company in the Spanish chemical Industry. Our top priority, however, is to ensure that the pending job cuts are implemented in accordance with the applicable procedures and as socially responsibly as possible.”