The cradle of the chemical park

The Leuna Chemical Park in Saxony-Anhalt, a site rich in tradition, has become the biggest chemical location in Germany since the reunification of the country / Location operator InfraLeuna is the service provider

Energy is a key factor in chemical production. Energy costs are therefore a critical criterion in the choice of location. The Leuna Chemical Park, situated in the southern part of the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt, is today one of the largest chemical locations in Germany with one of the longest established traditions. The over 100 companies based here are now able to draw the energy they require both favourably and reliably from an innovative medium-pressure steam supply system. In a nutshell, the waste heat of a waste-fired power station in the vicinity belonging to the MVV Umwelt GmbH Company is delivered.  A three-kilometre long pipeline was built to make the additional, cost-efficient source of steam available to the companies in Leuna. "The commissioning of this system has substantially improved the competitiveness and attractiveness of the Leuna Chemical Location", stated Christof Günther, Managing Director of InfraLeuna. He has been at InfraLeuna, the site operating company of the largest chemical location in Germany, some 1,300 square metres in size, since 2004. 

"The commissioning of the new steam supply system also represents a confirmation of the chemical park model developed in Saxony-Anhalt", stated Reiner Haseloff, State Prime Minister of Saxony-Anhalt while attending the commissioning of the medium-pressure steam system. For Leuna is the cradle of the now widely established "chemical park concept" in Saxony-Anhalt. Thus the traditional chemical locations in Saxony-Anhalt were the trailblazers in the global restructuring process that has taken place in the chemical industry.

The Leuna Werke comprised the largest company in the chemical sector in the former East Germany. The chemical park model was developed as a result of the privatisation of the individual components of the Leuna Werke at the beginning of the 1990s. The InfraLeuna GmbH Company is the owner and operator of all the infrastructure facilities in the park. It operates according to the so-called low-profit principle. The companies in the chemical park are provided with all the infrastructure services and supplies from a single source at the most favourable and internationally competitive prices possible. The share capital of the company is distributed among resident companies. InfraLeuna also acts as a site developer. Since 1997, new plants and manufacturing facilities have been set up in an area of 85 hectares.  A modern road network (40 kilometres in length), 90 kilometres of railway track as well as 600 kilometres of pipelines laid between the companies resident there ensure fast journeys across the chemical site. State-of-the-art offices, well equipped workshops and warehouses as well as service features such as waste water, disposal and an on-site medical service complete the spectrum of services supervised by InfraLeuna. In 2016, the location will celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Twenty-five years ago, on the occasion of the collapse of the East German regime, it was not at all clear whether the Leuna Werke with its ramshackle infrastructure would even survive. It has become evident, however, that this development as a chemical plant is indeed a success story. Since 1990, internationally active companies such as ARKEMA, BASF, DOMO, Innospec, Linde, TAMINCO and TOTAL – in addition to numerous mittelstand enterprises – have relocated to Leuna Chemical Park. Some 9,000 employees from ten countries now work in the over 100 companies resident here.

The working conditions, the factory premises, the infrastructure, the clean air – all this highlights the obvious contrast to the Leuna Werke at the end of East Germany. InfraLeuna Managing Director Christof Günther knows the plants from those days from the perspective of a rail passenger. "All you could see was torches, fumes and lights. It stank to heaven. The train passengers always closed all the windows beforehand", recalls the native of Thuringia.

Closer to Leuna in those days was Werner Popp. Following his graduation in commercial law in Halle/Saale, the current authorised officer at InfraLeuna came as a company lawyer to the Leuna Werke in 1978. The largest chemical company in East Germany had a workforce of some 28,000 workers when the Berlin Wall fell. Negotiations with the Linde AG Company on privatising the first areas of production began as early as 1990. "Those were exciting months when you hardly had time to draw breath", he remembers. This was particularly true since the management for its part were forced to realise that it was impossible to privatise the location as a single company. So business segments were hived off instead. The privatisation was essentially completed by 1996, the InfraLeuna GmbH Company established and thus the chemical park model as well. Since reunification, hundreds of millions of Euros have been invested in environmental projects.

The new medium-pressure steam system is also one of these projects. It is part of the "ProEnergie2014+" energy project of the InfraLeuna operating company. "Making use of energy as efficiently as possible is not only politically sound from the perspective of climate protection, it also saves on costs. This InfraLeuna project is a wonderful example of how it is possible to plan and consistently realise a climate- and resource-conserving, secure and cost-efficient on-site supply of energy. We need more initiatives like this in Germany. The example provided by Leuna shows that it works!", stated Franzjosef Schafhausen, Head of the Climate Protection Policies Department in the Federal Ministry for the Environment on the occasion of the commissioning of the system. And so it will continue: Next year will see the construction of a new high-pressure steam supply system.

Author: Michael Falgowski on behalf of IMG – Investment and Marketing Corporation Saxony-Anhalt

Martin Halliger
PR-Management / Press Spokesman
InfraLeuna GmbH
Am Haupttor, Bau 4310
06237 Leuna
Tel.: 0049-3461-43-4435
Fax: 0049-3461-43-3628