Plans to build the world’s first petrochemical plant to be fully powered by renewable energy have been put on ice due to the coronavirus pandemic.

German chemical giant BASF, Abu Dhabi’s state oil group ADNOC and Indian conglomerate Adani hoped to build the $4bn complex in Mundra, India, by 2024.

But BASF said: “The global economic uncertainties caused by the pandemic have led the partners to review the timing for undertaking this investment.

“Despite all attempts to optimise the scope and the configuration, the project has been put on hold.”

The partners said in 2019 that the Mundra acrylics and polypropylene plant would be “the world’s first CO2-neutral petrochemical site to be fully powered by renewable energy”, with BASF considering stakes in wind and solar projects that would be developed to serve the complex.

Decarbonising energy-intensive sectors such as chemicals and steel is seen as one of the biggest challenges of the energy transition.

BASF said there is a chance the project could be revived at some point.

“The partners remain convinced about the strong fundamentals represented by the Indian market and agreed to periodically explore market conditions and discuss any opportunity that may arise over time.”