Petronas to Acquire, Upgrade Maleic Plant


Petronas to Acquire, Upgrade Maleic Plant
© Faiz Zaki

Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd. is buying a maleic anhydride plant from its Malaysian joint venture with BASF and plans to upgrade the facility to produce a refined form of the chemical – in part to meet rising demands from customers in Asia-Pacific and India.

Maleic anhydride is used in making lubricant additives, such as corrosion inhibitors and detergents, along with plastics, polyesters and other materials.

On Tuesday Petronas Chemicals said it reached a final investment decision to fully acquire the 113,000 metric tons per year maleic anhydride plant in Gebeng, Kuantan, from BASF Petronas Chemicals SD. The plant will be operated by subsidiary Petronas Chemicals MTBE Sdn. following completion of the acquisition.

The final investment decision starts the execution phase of the upgrade project, which is scheduled to be completed by the second half of 2025.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed for the final investment decision, which signifies the start of the plant’s project execution phase to upgrade and rejuvenate the facilities to produce refined maleic anhydride. The upgraded plant is targeted to be ready by the second half of 2025.

 “This will also allow us to produce [maleic anhydride] to meet rising demands from customers in Asia-Pacific and Indian subcontinents, while exploring potential opportunities in European and Middle Eastern markets,” Petronas Chemicals Group Managing Director and CEO Ir. Mohd Yusri Mohamed Yusof said.

Yusri added that the Malaysia plant will enable future integration of maleic anhydride specialty chemical derivatives with both of its subsidiaries – Perstorp and BRB – along with possible synergies with other maleic anhydride downstream manufacturers in the country. Petronas Chemicals acquired Sweden-based specialty chemicals company Perstorp Holding AB last year and Netherlands-based BRB Group, an independent producer and formulator of lube oil additives, silicones and other chemicals, in 2019.

Reflecting growing global demand, several maleic anhydride plants have opened in recent years or are being developed.

A plant built by Shenghong Petrochemical Group in Liangyungang, Jiangsu province, entered full production mode last year. It has capacity of 340,000 t/y, according to a research report by Zhongtai Securities.

In November 2021, Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. announced plans to build a 120,000 t/y maleic anhydride plant at its oil refinery in Panipat, India. The facility is scheduled to open no sooner than 2026.

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