Oxiteno Casts Hungry Eye on U.S. Market


Oxiteno, a South American manufacturer of surfactants and chemical intermediates, has opened a commercial office in the United States in New Jersey. Oxitenos major lines of business include ethylene oxide and derivatives, consisting of ethylene glycols, ethanolamines, surfactants, solvents and specialty chemicals.

Ethylene oxide is a building block, ethylene glycol is widely used as an automotive antifreeze, and ethanolamines are used as intermediates in production of lubricant additives and metalworking fluids.

A member of the Brazilian conglomerate Ultrapar Participacoes S.A., Oxiteno operates five facilities in Brazil and three in Mexico, along with a commercial office in Argentina. Oxiteno USA LLC General Manager Neil Burns told Lube Report that the new U.S. office will serve as a sales office for North America, for production out of Oxitenos plants in Mexico and Brazil.

Initially well be strictly coordinating sales out those plants, establishing inventory within a few months, Burns said. Then well be looking at opportunities to put in place manufacturing in the U.S. or Canada.

New Jersey was an appealing location because many chemical companies have corporate or research offices there, according to Burns. The Freehold, N.J. office is a startup operation with plans to gradually grow. By the end of October, we expect to have three people here – myself, an office manager and a sales manager, he said. Were thinking to add another sales person towards the middle of next year.

He said the market in North America has only minor differences from the South American market. The sorts of markets were in for surfactants are fairly global in many respects – the major customers are very much global companies, Burns said. There are some subtle regional differences but nothing major.

In December, Oxiteno will commission an 80,000-metric-tons-per-year natural fatty alcohol plant. Current approved investments will increase the companys ethylene oxide production capacity by 40 percent in the next two years. According to Burns, Oxitenos current ethylene oxide production capacity is 310,000 mt/y.

The worlds largest producer of both ethylene oxide and ethanolamines is Dow Chemical. Last October it announced plans to increase capacity at Union Carbides ethanolamines facility in Hanville, La. by 45,000 metric tons to 154,000 mt/y, which was to increase the companys total nameplate capacity on the U.S. Gulf Coast to nearly 358,000 mt/y by mid 2007.

In 2003, Oxiteno acquired Canamex, a Mexican surfactant manufacturer. Now known as Oxiteno Mexico, it produces ethoxylates, esters and anionic surfactants for the household, industrial and institutional, personal care, food, pharma and other markets. The company said Oxiteno Mexico currently exports about 30 percent of its manufacturing output – including to the United States and Canada – through a network of distributors, representatives and agents.

According to Oxiteno, its Camacari plant in the state of Bahia, Brazil, is Latin Americas largest producer of ethylene oxide and derivatives. Its plant in Trememb manufactures chemical specialties for the following product lines: alcohol sulfonates, alkyl benzene sulfonates, brake fluids, fatty esters, betaines and naphthalene sulfonates. Its Mau plant was the first in Brazil to produce ethylene oxide and derivatives.

Ultrapar, Oxitenos parent company, in March acquired the fuel marketing business of Ipiranga, Brazils second largest fuel distributor, as well as its lube blending plants in Rio de Janeiro and Rio Grande.

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