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Business News – May 2018

By Mary Page Bailey |

Plant Watch

Saudi Aramco and RRPCL to proceed with integrated megaproject in India

April 12, 2018 — Saudi Aramco (Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. (RRPCL), a consortium of Indian oil companies, to jointly develop and build an integrated petroleum refinery and petrochemicals complex in Ratnagiri, India. The refinery will provide feedstock for the petrochemical complex, which will have a production capacity of 18 million metric tons per year (m.t./yr).


Yara and BASF open world-scale ammonia plant in Freeport, Texas

April 12, 2018 — Yara International ASA (Oslo, Norway; and BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; opened a new ammonia plant in Freeport, Tex. The $600-million facility has capacity to produce 750,000 m.t./yr of ammonia. BASF will use its share of the ammonia offtake to produce polyamide 6.


BASF starts up new polyarylsulfone production line in South Korea

April 12, 2018 — BASF has started up a new production line for the high-temperature-resistant thermoplastic polyarylsulfone at its site in Yeosu, South Korea. With the new line, BASF’s global capacity for this product will increase by 6,000 m.t./yr to 24,000 m.t./yr.


Evonik to expand production capacity for methacrylate crosslinkers in Alabama

April 10, 2018 — Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany; is expanding its production capacities for methacrylate crosslinkers at its site in Mobile, Alabama. Startup of the expanded facility is scheduled for the third quarter of 2018. The crosslinkers are used in paints, coatings, composites and plastics.


Cepsa to upgrade linear alkylbenzene production at Puente Mayorga site

April 9, 2018 — Compañía Española de Petróleos S.A.U. (Cepsa; Madrid, Spain; will implement a new upgrade project to expand the production of linear alkylbenzene (LAB) at its Puente Mayorga site in San Roque, Spain. The revamp will increase LAB production capacity at the plant from 200,000 m.t./yr to 250,000 m.t./yr.


Mitsubishi Chemical and Sabic start up joint production site in Saudi Arabia

April 4, 2018 — The Saudi Methacrylates Co. (Samac), a 50-50 joint venture (JV) of Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. (MCC; Tokyo; and Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (Sabic; Riyadh; has successfully completed performance tests and commenced commercial operation at its two new units producing methyl methacrylate (MMA) monomer and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) in Saudi Arabia. The JV will manufacture 250,000 m.t./yr of MMA monomer and 40,000 m.t./yr of PMMA.


Mitsui to build production plant for thermoplastic olefin elastomers in Ohio

March 26, 2018­— Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. (Tokyo, Japan; plans to set up a new production facility for the thermoplastic olefin elastomer Milastomer at the Ohio-based plant of its U.S. subsidiary Advanced Composites, Inc. The new line will be designed to produce 6,000 m.t./yr of Milastomer. Construction is slated to begin in January 2019, with commercial startup expected in October 2019.


Showa Denko expands production capacity of hydrogen bromide

March 26, 2018­— Showa Denko K.K. (SDK; Tokyo, Japan; has expanded its capacity to produce high-purity hydrogen bromide (HBr), which is used in the manufacture of semiconductors. The expansion increased SDK’s HBr production capacity from 600 m.t./yr to 900 m.t./yr.


Mergers & Acquisitions

WorleyParsons completes acquisition of M+W Group assets in Germany

April 10, 2018 — WorleyParsons Ltd. (North Sydney, Australia; completed the strategic acquisition of M+W Group’s (Stuttgart, Germany; assets in Ludwigshafen and Schwarzheide, Germany. The acquired business provides engineering services to chemical companies, including feasibility studies,concept development, engineering and project and construction management.


Alfa Laval to sell its tubular heat-exchanger business

April 5, 2018 — Alfa Laval AB (Lund, Sweden; has signed an agreement to sell its commercial tubular heat-exchanger business to the Bitzer Group. The commercial tubular heat-exchanger business has its base in Alonte, Italy, and reported revenues of about SEK 120 million (around $14.3 million) in 2017.


TechnipFMC acquires epichlorohydrin process technology from Solvay

March 30, 2018 — TechnipFMC (Houston; has completed the acquisition of Epicerol technology from Solvay S.A. (Brussels, Belgium; The technology converts glycerol to high-purity epichlorohydrin (ECH) for use in coatings, composites and adhesive applications in various industries. TechnipFMC’s operating center in Lyon, France will license the Epicerol technology.


BASF completes sale of its Mexican oleochemical surfactants business to Stepan

March 27, 2018 — BASF has closed the sale of a portion of its oleochemical surfactants business in Mexico to Stepan CDMX, S. de R.L. de C.V., a subsidiary of Stepan Co. (Northfield, Ill.; The transaction includes the Mexico oleochemical surfactants product portfolio and intellectual property, as well as the production assets at the Ecatepec site in Estado de Mexico.


AkzoNobel sells Specialty Chemicals business for €10.1 billion

March 27, 2018 — AkzoNobel (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; announced the sale of 100% of its Specialty Chemicals business to longstanding investment partners The Carlyle Group and GIC for an enterprise value of €10.1 billion. The transaction is expected to be completed before the end of 2018.


Hexcel and Arkema to collaborate on aerospace composites

March 26, 2018 — Hexcel Corp. (Stamford, Conn.; and Arkema (Colombes, France; have signed a strategic alliance to develop thermoplastic composite solutions for the aerospace sector, combining the expertise of Hexcel in carbon fiber and that of Arkema in polyether ketone ketone (PEKK). As part of this partnership, a joint research and development laboratory, located in France, will be established.


Tronox to sell Nevada-based electrolytic assets

March 26, 2018 — Tronox Ltd, (Stamford, Conn.; has entered into a purchase agreement with EMD Acquisition LLC to sell certain assets and liabilities of its Electrolytic Operations business based in Henderson, Nev. for $13 million in cash, subject to certain working capital adjustments. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and expected to close mid-2018.


Alpek, Indorama and Far Eastern to acquire M&G’s Corpus Christi project

March 22, 2018 — Corpus Christi Polymers LLC — a newly formed JV between Alpek S.A.B. de C.V. (San Pedro Garza Garcia, Mexico;, Indorama Ventures Public Ltd. (Bangkok, Thailand; and Far Eastern Investment Holding Ltd. — has entered into an agreement to acquire M&G’s integrated purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plant that is currently under construction in Corpus Christi, Tex., along with certain intellectual property and a desalination and boiler plant. When completed, the plant will have a nominal capacity of 1.1 million m.t./yr of PET and 1.3 million m.t./yr of PTA. The plant is expected to be the largest single-line vertically integrated PTA-PET production facility in the world. ■





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