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January 2018 Business News

By Mary Page Bailey |

Plant Watch

Covestro invests in debottlenecking and chlorine supply at Tarragona site

December 11, 2017 — Covestro AG (Leverkusen, Germany; will invest around €200 million in improvement projects at its production site in Tarragona, Spain, including construction of an onsite chlorine-production plant and a debottlenecking project to increase methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) production by 50,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) to 220,000 m.t./yr. The chlorine plant is planned to start up in 2020, and the debottlenecking will occur through 2022.


NOVA announces plans for cracker expansion and new PE plant in Sarnia

December 8, 2017 — NOVA Chemicals Corp. (Calgary, Alta., Canada; announced two significant capital-investment projects in the Sarnia-Lambton region of Ontario, Canada. The expansion of NOVA Chemicals’ Corunna cracker by approximately 50% will provide ethylene for a new polyethylene (PE) production facility. The new plant is designed to increase NOVA Chemicals’ PE production capacity by approximately 450,000 m.t./yr. Site preparations are currently underway for both projects, with startup targeted for late 2021.


Clariant selected by Xuzhou HaiDing for new PDH unit in China

December 8, 2017 — Clariant AG (Munich, Germany; will develop a custom-built Catofin catalyst and propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit in cooperation with CB&I (The Woodlands, Tex.; for Xuzhou HaiDing Chemical Technology Co. The project includes the license and engineering design of the unit, which is to be built in Pizhou, Jiangsu Province, China. The Xuzhou HaiDing plant is designed to produce 600,000 m.t./yr of propylene (PP).


BP to build its third lubricants plant in China

December 7, 2017 — BP plc (London; plans to build a new lubricants- blending plant in China. The new plant will be BP’s third lubricants-blending plant in China, and with an expected investment of around $230 million, will also represent BP’s single largest blending-plant investment worldwide. The new plant, expected to start operation before the end of 2021, will have a production capacity of 200,000 m.t./yr.


Oxea to begin DOTP production in Europe

December 5, 2017 — Oxea GmbH (Monheim am Rhein, Germany; entered into a cooperation with a German partner to produce dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP), a non- ortho-phthalate plasticizer. By 2019, Oxea will produce 60,000 m.t./yr of DOTP. For this project, Oxea’s cooperation partner will construct a modular DOTP production unit at its manufacturing site in Germany.


thyssenkrupp to build two major polymer plants for SASA in Turkey

November 30, 2017 — thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions’ (Essen Germany; subsidiary Uhde Inventa-Fischer signed a contract to build two new world-scale polymer plants for SASA Polyester Sanayi A.S. in Adana, Turkey. One plant is planned to produce 380,000 m.t./yr of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) for low-viscosity applications. The second plant will use proprietary technology to produce 216,000 m.t./yr of resin for the production of PET bottles.


W.R. Grace awarded Unipol PP contracts in Kuwait and China

November 28, 2017 — W.R. Grace & Co. (Columbia, Md.; will license its Unipol PP process to Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Co. (KIPIC) for the integrated petrochemical complex at its Al-Zour petroleum refinery. Expected to open in 2023, the facility is designed to produce 940,000 m.t./yr of polypropylene. W.R. Grace also announced two Unipol PP licenses in China — one from Sinochem Quanzhou Petrochemical Co. and one from Oriental Energy Co. in Ningbo.


Lotte Versalis Elastomers opens new production plant in South Korea

November 27, 2017 — Lotte Versalis Elastomers, a 50-50 joint venture (JV) between Eni S.p.A. (Rome, Italy; and Lotte Chemical (Seoul, South Korea;, opened a new integrated industrial complex for the production of elastomers in Yeosu, South Korea. The industrial complex has a nameplate capacity of 200,000 m.t./yr of elastomers, including ethylene-propylene diene monomer (EPDM) and solution-styrene butadiene rubber (s-SBR).


Mergers & Acquisitions

Atlas Copco acquires mining equipment businesses in the U.S. and South Africa

December 4, 2017 — Atlas Copco AB (Stockholm, Sweden; intends to acquire Cate Drilling Solutions LLC, a distributor of mining equipment, and Renegade Drilling Supplies Proprietary Ltd., a manufacturer of mining equipment and accessories. The acquisition of Utah-based Cate Drilling Solutions is expected to close in early 2018. Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Renegade Drilling specializes in consuables, such as drill rods and diamond drill bits.


BP Biofuels and Copersucar form ethanol JV in Brazil

December 1, 2017 — BP Biofuels and Copersucar ( agreed to form a JV to own and operate a major ethanol storage terminal in Brazil. The 50-50 JV will own and operate the Terminal Copersucar de Etanol in Paulínia in the state of São Paulo. The Paulínia terminal has ten ethanol tanks with a total storage capacity of 180 million L and transports around 2.3 billion L/yr, with the potential for further expansion.


Umicore to sell its European Technical Materials business

December 1, 2017 — Umicore N.V. (Brussels, Belgium; has agreed to sell its European Technical Materials business to Saxonia Edelmetalle GmbH, a German refiner and manufacturer of precious-metal chemical compounds, semi-finished products and contact parts. The agreement concerns operating assets in Germany and Italy that manufacture contact materials and brazing alloys for technical applications. The business generated €163 million in 2016. Closing of the transaction is expected in the first quarter of 2018.


Evonik to acquire additive compounding business from 3M

November 28, 2017 — Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany; will acquire the high-concentrates additive compounding business of 3M (St. Paul, Minn.; The deal includes the Accurel brand product portfolio and a production plant in Obernburg, Germany. The high-concentrates additive compounding technology allows plastic manufacturers to introduce large volumes of additives into a polymer matrix via a solid polymer carrier.


AkzoNobel acquires powder coatings company in Thailand

November 27, 2017 — AkzoNobel N.V. (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; has agreed to acquire the business of V.Powdertech Co., a leading manufacturer of powder coatings in Thailand. The transaction includes all relevant technologies, patents and trademarks, as well as a manufacturing plant in Samutsakhon, Thailand. In addition, all employees from V.Powdertech will be joining AkzoNobel.


LyondellBasell and SUEZ buy European plastics-recycling business

November 27, 2017 — LyondellBasell (Rotterdam, the Netherlands; has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase a 50% stake in Quality Circular Polymers (QCP), a plastics recycling company in Sittard-Geleen, the Netherlands. Under the terms of the agreement, LyondellBasell will be a 50-50 partner in QCP with SUEZ (Paris, France; Starting in 2018, QCP’s Sittard-Geleen facility will begin converting consumer waste into 35,000 m.t./yr of PP and high-density polyethylene (HDPE). ■

Mary Page Bailey

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