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Air Liquide signs longterm contract with major petroleum group in China; and more business news for the CPI

| By Mary Page Bailey

Plant Watch


BASF and Sinopec inaugurate world-scale isononanol plant in Maoming

October 12, 2015 — BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec; Beijing; have inaugurated a world-scale isononanol (INA) plant in Maoming, China. The plant has INA production capacity of 180,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr), and is said to be the first INA plant in China.


Air Liquide signs longterm contract with major petroleum group in China

October 12, 2015 — Air Liquide (Paris, France; signed a longterm contract with Yan’an Energy and Chemical Co. in which Air Liquide will invest around €80 million in two new air separation units (ASUs), with a total capacity of 2,800 m.t./d of oxygen. Expected to start operations in early 2018, the new ASUs will supply air gases for a plant that will produce 600,000 m.t./yr of olefins.


Jacobs awarded EPCM contract from Nippon Shokubai Europe

October 6, 2015 — Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (Pasadena, Calif.; has received a contract from Nippon Shokubai Europe N.V. for detailed engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services for the expansion of its superabsorbent polymer plant and a new acrylic acid plant at a site in Zwijndrecht (Antwerp), Belgium. The project’s total investment is approximately $390 million. Completion is expected in October 2017.


Evonik plans to build additional methionine plant in Singapore

October 1, 2015 — Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany; has started the planning stage for the construction of an additional plant complex in Singapore to produce the amino acid D,L-methionine. The new plant will have a production capacity of 150,000 m.t./yr and is expected to start operations in 2019.


Kuraray to expand production capacity for optical-use base films in Japan

October 1, 2015 — Kuraray Co. (Tokyo, Japan; will expand production of optical-use polyvinyl alcohol (poval) film at its facility in Saijo, Japan. The production capacity for these films will increase from 212 to 232 million m2/yr. The expanded operations are planned to commence in early 2017.


Mitsubishi Polyester Film invests in South Carolina plant expansion

September 30, 2015 — Mitsubishi Polyester Film, Inc. (Greer, S.C.; will invest $100 million to increase its capacity for biaxially oriented polyester film at its plant in Greer, S.C. The investment will include a new film-production line scheduled to start up in mid-2017.


Inovyn to build large-scale potassium hydroxide plant in Belgium

September 25, 2015 — Inovyn (, a joint venture (JV) between Solvay S.A. (Brussels, Belgium; and Ineos Technologies (Rolle, Switzerland;, is planning a major investment in a large-scale potassium hydroxide (KOH) production facility at its Antwerp/Lillo site in Belgium. The investment consists of a KOH plant with a capacity of 160,000 m.t./yr that will go onstream in 2017.


BASF to build production facility based on Genomatica’s renewable BDO technology

September 24, 2015 — Under the terms of an expanded license agreement, BASF will build a world-scale production facility that will use Genomatica’s (San Diego, Calif.; process to manufacture renewable 1,4-butanediol (BDO). BASF has secured rights to allow production of up to 75,000 m.t./yr of BDO.


CB&I awarded FEED contract for ethylene cracker project in Texas

September 23, 2015 — CB&I (The Woodlands, Tex.; has been awarded a contract by Total to provide its proprietary ethylene technology and front-end engineering and design (FEED) services for a proposed new ethane cracker located in Port Arthur, Tex. The proposed cracker will have a capacity of 1 million m.t./yr of ethylene.


PPG completes expansion of coatings facility in Spain

September 17, 2015 — PPG Industries, Inc. (Pittsburgh, Pa.; announced the completion of a $3.8-million expansion at its coatings manufacturing facility in Laguna de Duero, Valladolid, Spain. The investment provides new mixing and blending equipment at the facility that will support an 80% increase in annual coatings-production capacity.


Mergers & Acquisitions


GE to acquire membrane manufacturer IMT Solutions

October 5, 2015 — GE Power & Water (Schenectady, N.Y.; has agreed to acquire IMT Solutions, a Netherlands- based manufacturer of filtration membranes for water treatment. With this acquisition, GE expands its existing advanced ultrafiltration hollow-fiber membrane portfolio.

ThyssenKrupp merges plant technology businesses in France

October 1, 2015 — ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions AG (Essen, Germany; is strengthening its plant technology capabilities in France by merging the formerly separate entities Polysius and KH Mineral to become ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions (France).


Axiall’s aromatics business acquired by Ineos

October 1, 2015 — Ineos Technologies has acquired the aromatics business of Axiall Corp. (Atlanta, Ga.; for $52.4 million. The acquisition comprises a 900,000-m.t./yr cumene production plant based in Pasadena, Tex. In addition, the phenol, acetone and alpha-methylstyrene business will transfer to the Ineos Phenol facility in Mobile, Ala.


ExxonMobil to sell Torrance refinery to PBF Energy

October 1, 2015 — ExxonMobil Corp. (Irving, Tex.; has reached an agreement with PBF Energy, Inc. for the sale and purchase of its petroleum refinery in Torrance, Calif., as well as other associated California-based assets. Subject to repairs to the refinery’s electrostatic precipitator and regulatory approval, change-in-control is anticipated to take place by mid-2016.


Kraton to acquire Arizona Chemical for $1.37 billion

September 30, 2015 — Kraton Performance Polymers, Inc. (Houston; has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all of the capital stock of privately held Arizona Chemical Holdings Corp. for a cash purchase price of $1.37 billion. Arizona Chemical is a producer of high-value performance products and specialty chemicals made from non-hydrocarbon, renewable raw materials.


Praxair expands business in Peru with Tecnogas acquisition

September 24, 2015 — Praxair, Inc. (Danbury, Conn.; has acquired Tecnogas, a producer and distributor of carbon dioxide and industrial gases in Peru. Tecnogas owns and operates three carbon dioxide production plants that Praxair will use to serve the growing demand for the gas in the country.

ABB to collaborate with Werum IT solutions

September 24, 2015 — ABB (Zurich, Switzerland; has signed a memorandum of understanding with Werum IT Solutions GmbH, a supplier of pharmaceutical manufacturing- execution systems, to collaborate on distributed control-system (DCS) solutions for the life-science industries, providing expertise in DCS and production-management software.


Lanxess and Saudi Aramco create JV for synthetic rubber

September 22, 2015 — Lanxess AG (Cologne, Germany; and Saudi Aramco’s subsidiary Aramco Overseas Co. plan to establish a JV for synthetic rubber, in which each party will hold a 50% interest. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2016. The JV is valued at €2.75 billion. ■

Mary Page Bailey