Shenghong Refinery Makes Maleic, MMAs

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China’s largest petrochemical refinery is now fully operating, and maleic anhydride and methyl methacrylates are among the materials it is producing.

Shenghong Petrochemical Group announced last week that its new facilities in Liangyungang, Jiangsu province, have entered full production mode, and it hailed the project as a breakthrough for China’s chemical industry in terms of scale, efficiency and profitability.

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Located on China’s east coast north of Shanghai, the complex – which was built for ¥67.7 billion (U.S. $9.9 billion) – has an overall crude oil throughput capacity of 16 million metric tons per year. In a Dec. 28 press release, company officials described it as a Verbund complex – a German term for refineries that produce basic chemicals and then further process them into specialty and more value-added products.

Shenghong’s refinery produces ethylene and then a range of related materials. Among the main value-added chemicals: ethylene vinyl acetate, which is used in meat and dairy packaging and on solar energy panels; acrylonitrile, which is used to make materials ranging from rubber to nylon; and biodegradable plastics.

According to a research report by Zhongtai Securities, Shanghong’s site also has capacity to make 340,000 t/y of maleic anhydride, which is used to make lubricant additives such as corrosion inhibitors and detergents, along with other materials such as plastic resins and polyesters.

The unit making methyl methacrylates has capacity of 170,000 t/y. MMAs are used as viscosity modifiers for lubricants, among other applications.

Shenghong has already announced plans for additional investment that will lead to production of other chemicals, including alpha olefins. Alpha olefins can be branched or linear. Linear alpha olefins can be used as building blocks for a range of materials, including polyalphaolefin synthetic base stocks.