OQ Chemicals said Tuesday it reached a final investment decision to build additional propionic aldehyde capacity as well as infrastructure to support Röhm in constructing a world-scale methyl methacrylate plant at OQ Chemicals’ production site in Bay City, Texas. The compounds can be used to make viscosity modifiers for lubricants, among other applications.
In June 2021, Germany-based Röhm announced approval of a final budget for construction of the new methyl methacrylate production plant in Bay City. The new plant will have capacity to make 250,000 metric tons per year and create 70 direct jobs.
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In Tuesday’s announcement, OQ Chemicals said that under terms of a February 2021 agreement with Röhm, OQ will integrate the plant into its production site at Bay City and provide raw materials, utilities and site services to Röhm. Based on the engineering progress of both parties, all other arrangements for construction are now complete, and the new plant is slated to be mechanically complete by the first quarter of 2024.
The plant will be the first of its kind to implement newly developed LiMA – Leading in Methacrylates – technology on a large industrial scale. According to Röhm, the technology enables a high yield with low energy consumption and reduced wastewater volumes. Benefits cited by company officials included supply security and strengthening Röhm’s position in the methyl methacrylate market.
In 2006, Degussa AG was acquired by Essen-based RAG Beteiligungs-AG, which renamed itself Evonik Industries AG a year later and included the methacrylates business of the original Röhm GmbH. Evonik uses methyl methacrylates to make polyalkyl methacrylates, the chemical foundation of its viscosity index improvers, pour point depressants, cold flow improvers and synthetic base stocks that it offers to the lubricants industry.
In August 2019, Evonik sold the methacrylates business to the financial investor Advent International. Since then, the business has operated as the independent company Röhm GmbH and has 3,500 employees worldwide.