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July 4, 2012

BASF to build butadiene extraction plant in Antwerp

Gerald Ondrey

BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; plans to build a butadiene extraction plant at its Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium. The plant will have an annual production capacity of 155,000 metric tons (m.t.) and is scheduled to start up during 2014. The investment amount will be in the high double-digit million euro range.

The decision has been made in light of the increasingly tight supplies of butadiene on global markets. In recent years, the volumes of butadiene available on the market have declined sharply. At the same time, demand from the tire industry and other industries has been rising. This has led to a considerable increase in prices.

“With the plant, we will secure our supply of butadiene at a competitive cost,” says Uwe Kirchgäßner, head of BASF’s regional business unit Basic Petrochemicals Europe. “Furthermore, we will take advantage of opportunities on the attractive external market and thereby contribute to our long-term economic success,” Kirchgäßner adds.

The butadiene will be extracted from crude C4, a product from the steam cracker. “This plant strengthens our Verbund production in Antwerp and is a very important investment at the site,” says Wouter de Geest, CEO of BASF Antwerpen NV. “By improving the integration of the C4 value chain, we will also be able to reduce the need for logistics as well as traffic,” adds de Geest. Through the investment about 15 to 20 jobs will be created.

In Europe, BASF already operates a butadiene extraction plant at its Verbund site in Ludwigshafen, Germany, with a production capacity of 105,000 m.t./yr. Butadiene is a raw material that can be used to produce synthetic rubber, among other applications. The tire industry is one of the main consumers of butadiene. Other applications for butadiene include paper chemicals and plastics production.


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