NEW YORK (AP) -- Equistar Chemicals LP is temporarily shutting down a plant in Texas starting Friday as a result of declining demand for products that use plastic.
The olefin unit in La Porte, Texas is expected to remain out of service until early 2009, according to Equistar, a unit of LyondellBasell, one of the world's largest chemical companies. Olefin is a chemical used in making plastic products including house wares, automotive parts and even clothing.
The plant's 580 employees will continue working during the temporary shutdown, said David Harpole, a company spokesman.
"There's plenty of maintenance work and training to perform to keep the plant in a state of readiness," he said.
The La Porte plant has a capacity to produce 1.7 billion pounds of ethylene and 700 million pounds of propylene a year, according to the company.
The shutdown is the result of a drop-off in demand for the two chemicals as manufacturers adjust year-end inventories, Ed Dineen, president of Equistar, said in a release.
Dineen said temporarily idling the plant will help the company contain costs for the year.