BASF-Sinopec J.V. Blossoms


BASF and China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) on Thursday submitted the technical and commercial feasibility study for approval of a planned $900 million expansion of their joint chemicalsite in Nanjing to the Chinese government. Some of the chemicals produced by the sites plants can be used in lubricant additives, solvents, and biocides.

BASF spokesman Gareth Rees said the companies have already conducted debottlenecking and preparatory work. The expansion will involve construction of several new facilities, including a new amines plant.

Final approval is necessary from the Chinese government, Rees told Lube Report. We expect the approval process to be smooth, and are reckoning on receiving approval by around the middle of this year.

According to a BASF fact sheet, the Nanjing Verbund site is 220 hectares (544 acres) in size, employing more than 1,500 people. Customers include Sinopec, Procter& Gamble, and a number of small and medium-sized Chinese companies. More than 90 percent of production is for the Chinese market. The original investment sum for the site was $2.9 billion.

The BASF-YPC Co. Ltd. (BYC) joint venture operates the site. Sinopec president Wang Tianpu and Martin Brudermuller, member of the BASF board of executive directors, formalized completion of the study at a signing ceremony in Beijing on Thursday.

The expansion includes a variety of projects:

  • Expansion of the steam cracker from 600,000 to 750,000 metric tons per year of ethylene.
  • Expansion of the ethylene oxide plant and development of EO derivatives to produce non-ionic surfactants for detergents and the solvent butylglycol ether.
  • Production of ethanolamines and ethyleneamines for agrochemicals. Ethanolamines are also used as intermediates in the preparation of water-soluble lubricants, emulsifiers, proprietary corrosion inhibitors and biocides. The largest application area for ethyleneamines is in ashless dispersants for engine oils and in other lubricants, and in some dispersant-detergents for fuels.
  • Development of butadiene and isobutene as chemical raw materials, of 2-propylheptanol for a new-generation plasticizer and of polyisobutene as lubricant and fuel additives.
  • Expansion of the existing oxo-alcohol and propionic acid plants. Propionic acid is used in solvents, pharmaceuticals, crop protection agents, feed-grain preservation, food preservatives and plastics.

If approved, the new activities are expected to come on stream in steps, starting this year. The cracker expansion is scheduled for 2009 to 2010.

The completion of this feasibility study report marks an important step in the cooperation between Sinopec and BASF at BYC. Sinopec will fully support the growth of BYC, which is expected to make significant contribution to meet domestic market demand, said Sinopecs Wang.

The expansion of BYC further strengthens our close partnership with Sinopec and makes BYC even more powerful, said BASFs Brudermuller. The expansion is another significant demonstration of BASFs long-term commitment to Chinas chemical market.

Both companies also agreed to integrate another joint operation, Yangzi-BASF Styrenics in Nanjing, into BYC to increase efficiency and make full use of existing synergies. Yangzi-BASF Styrenics is a Sino-German joint venture invested by Sinopec Yangzi Petrochemical Corp. (40 percent), BASF AG (50 percent) and BASF (China) Co. Ltd (10 percent). It produces styrenics products for the Chinese market, including the electrical, electronics and packaging industry.

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