BP sells Alabama petrochemical complex to Thai company

(Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg)

BP said Wednesday it will sell its 1,000-acre, Decatur chemical complex in Alabama to Thailand-based Indorama Ventures as BP seeks to slim down its petrochemical portfolio.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed and BP declined further comment, but the acquisition makes sense on the surface for Indorama because it already owns adjacent manufacturing plants in Decatur.

The 50-year-old Decatur complex, which employs nearly 800 people, including daily contractors, makes chemicals used in products ranging from water bottles to flat-screen televisions. The plant specifically manufactures purified terephthalic acid, or PTA, as well as the raw material, paraxylene, and naphthalene dicarboxylate.

BP previously announced in November that it planned to sell the Alabama petrochemical complex.

BP said it will maintain its focus on its other plants that manufacture PTA, which is a key raw material in making polyester.

“This agreement allows us to focus investment on our world-class PTA production facility in Cooper River, South Carolina, and a key PTA feedstock producer in Texas City, Texas, as well as to maintain a strong position in the important U.S. petrochemicals industry,” said Rita Griffin, chief operating officer of BP Global Petrochemicals, in a prepared statement.

As part of the deal, Indorama is assuming certain contracts with suppliers and customers. The sale is expected to close early this year when employees will transfer to the new owner.

BP acquired the Decatur complex in its 1998 acquisition of Amoco.

Indorama opened its first resin manufacturing plant in Decatur in 2009 through its AlphaPet subsidiary. The company is currently wrapping up an expansion of the AlphaPet complex.