BASF Boosting PIB Capacity


BASF on Monday outlined plans to expand its plant for low molecular weight, highly reactive polyisobutene, marketed under the Glissopal brand, at its Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium, raising capacity by 25,000 metric tons per year to a total of 100,000 mt/y. Start up of the upgraded plant, which responds to demand for HR PIB for use in lubricant additives, is scheduled for March 2008.

This investment is BASFs response to the increasing global demand for Glissopal, said Hartmann Leube, head of strategic marketing and product development at BASFs business unit Performance Chemicals for the Automotive and Refinery Industry. The new capacity is a sustainable contribution to the continuing dynamic development of the market for HR PIB, especially as a raw material for lubricant additives.

BASF produces polyisobutene in four plants in Antwerp and Ludswigshafen, Germany, where the company is headquartered. In addition to the low molecular weight Glissopal brand, BASF manufactures medium and high molecular weight polyisobutene, marketed under the Oppanol brand. The two ranges of products are used in a variety of applications, including fuel and lubricant additives, industrial lubricants and oil for two-stroke engines.

In May, BASF announced completion ahead of schedule ofa capacityexpansion for medium molecular weight polyisobutene, marketed under the Oppanol brand, at its Ludwigshafen site. The expansion, done in response to increasing worldwide demand, increased capacity by 6,000 mt/y to a total of 18,000 m/t. BASF said it could use the additional capacity to promote innovation in the MM PIB sector, and would develop new applications for its Oppanol brand product together with its partners in various industries.

Some industry analysts expect PIB to replace the majority of a projected shortfall in bright stock over the next decade. BASF, Ineos, Infineum and Lubrizol supply almost two thirds of the PIB lubricants market.

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