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Plant Watch: March 2019

By Mary Page Bailey |

Plant Watch

Sasol begins operating LLDPE unit at Lake Charles site

February 13, 2019 — Sasol Ltd. (Johannesburg, South Africa; www.sasol.co.za) announced that its new linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) unit in Lake Charles, La. has achieved beneficial operations. The LLDPE unit, which uses Univation Technologies’ (Houston; www.univation.com) Unipol PE process to produce 470,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) of LLDPE, is one of two LLDPE plants at the site. The second, a 420,000-m.t./yr plant using process technology from ExxonMobil Corp. (Irving, Tex.; www.exxonmobil.com), is scheduled to come online later this year.

 

Arkema opens new polyester-resin manufacturing facility in India

February 13, 2019 — Arkema (Colombes, France; www.arkema.com) inaugurated a new polyester-resin manufacturing facility in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. This $15-million investment includes production capabilities for polyester powder resins marketed under the Reafree trade name. Arkema also produces Reafree resins and runs powder-coating laboratories at its facilities in Sant Celoni, Spain and North Kansas City, Mo.

 

Chemours triples low-GWP refrigerant production with startup of new plant

February 12, 2019 — The Chemours Co. (Wilmington, Del.; www.chemours.com) started up a new Opteon YF (HFO-1234yf) low global-warming-potential (GWP) refrigerant production facility at its Corpus Christi manufacturing plant in Ingleside, Tex. This $300-million facility will enable Chemours to triple the global capacity of its hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) 1234yf-based refrigerant products.

 

Sibur to expand polybutadiene rubber production capacity

February 12, 2019 — Sibur (Moscow; www.sibur.com) has launched an investment project aimed at enhancing polybutadiene rubber (Nd-BR) production at its Voronezh facility in Russia. A capacity ramp-up of 13,000 m.t./yr will increase total capacity to 48,000 m.t./yr. Currently, the project is in the design stage, with completion slated for 2021.

 

Praxair to double capacity at Missouri air-separation plant

February 11, 2019 — Praxair, Inc. (Danbury, Conn.; www.praxair.com) will expand production capacity at its Neosho, Mo. air-separation plant in response to the growing demand in Missouri and neighboring parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. The project is expected to be completed in 2020 and will double capacity at the Neosho facility.

 

Kemira to increase production of emulsion polymers at Alabama site

February 8, 2019 — Kemira Oyj (Helsinki, Finland; www.kemira.com) has announced a two-year investment of around €60 million to significantly increase production of high-molecular-weight emulsion polymers at its manufacturing site in Mobile, Ala. Construction is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2019 with full commercial operation starting in early 2021.

 

Saudi Aramco, Total and Daelim sign MOU to build new polyisobutylene plant

February 1, 2019 — Saudi Aramco (Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; www.saudiaramco.com), Total S.A. (Paris, France; www.total.com) and Daelim (Seoul, South Korea; www.daelim.co.kr) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to build a new 80,000-m.t./yr polyisobutylene plant, which is expected to come onstream in 2024. The new petrochemicals facility, to be located in Saudi Arabia, will use feedstock from Saudi Aramco and Total’s joint Amiral petrochemicals complex in Jubail.

 

Celanese to expand Clear Lake acetic acid plant

January 28, 2019 — Celanese Corp. (Dallas, Tex.; www.celanese.com) announced that its Clear Lake, Tex. acetic acid facility will be expanded from 1.3 million m.t./yr to around 2.0 million m.t./yr by late 2021. This project delivers rate flexibility and a platform that is expandable by an additional 600,000 m.t./yr.

 

BASF opens first phase of new antioxidants plant in Shanghai

January 25, 2019 — BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; www.basf.com) inaugurated a new antioxidants manufacturing plant at its Caojing site in Shanghai, China. With a capacity of 42,000 m.t./yr, the plant will produce antioxidants and associated forms and blends for the plastic-additives market.

 

Mergers & Acquisitions

Eni and Sabic to collaborate on new natural-gas conversion technology

February 8, 2019 — Eni S.p.A. (Rome, Italy; www.eni.com) and The Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (Sabic; Riyadh; www.sabic.com) agreed to jointly develop a technology for natural gas conversion into syngas that can be further transformed into high-value fuels and chemicals, such as methanol. The partnership will involve, among other activities, the construction of an industrial demonstration plant that will be built and operated inside one of Eni’s industrial sites. This process was initially developed by Eni and was subsequently coupled with Sabic’s short-contact-time reactor technologies.

 

De Nora acquires MIOX business from Johnson Matthey

February 7, 2019 — Industrie De Nora S.p.A. (De Nora; Milan, Italy; www.denora.com) has acquired the Albuquerque-based MIOX business from Johnson Matthey plc (London, U.K.; www.matthey.com) for an undisclosed price. MIOX specializes in proprietary mixed oxidants for onsite water purification, including electrochemical, disinfection, oxidation and filtration processes.

 

Ecolab to spin off UpstreamEnergy business segments

February 7, 2019 — Ecolab Inc. (St. Paul, Minn.; www.ecolab.com) plans to spin off its Upstream Energy business units as a standalone publicly traded company. The Upstream Energy business currently operates within Ecolab’s Energy segment and consists of its oilfield chemicals production business and the WellChem drilling and well-completion chemistry business. Ecolab plans to retain the Downstream business, which serves petroleum refineries and petrochemical plants. The Upstream Energy business had 2018 sales of approximately $2.4 billion.

 

HollyFrontier completes acquisition of Sonneborn

February 7, 2019 — HollyFrontier Corp. (Dallas, Tex.; www.hollyfrontier.com) completed the previously announced acquisition of Sonneborn U.S. Holdings Inc. and Sonneborn Coöperatief U.A. for $655 million. Sonneborn is one of the world’s largest dedicated suppliers of white oils, petrolatums and waxes, and operates manufacturing facilities in North America and Europe.

 

Chevron to acquire Pasadena refining assets from Petrobras

February 1, 2019 — Chevron Corp. (San Ramon, Calif.; www.chevron.com) signed a share-purchase agreement with Petrobras America Inc., a U.S.-based subsidiary of Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; www.petrobras.com.br), to acquire all shares and equity interests of Pasadena Refining System, Inc. (PSRI), including the 110,000-bbl/d petroleum refinery in Pasadena, Tex., and PRSI Trading, LLC, for $350 million. The acquisition will add to Chevron’s refining network, which currently includes facilities in Pascagoula, Miss., El Segundo and Richmond, Calif. and Salt Lake City, Utah.

 

Cabot to divest its Specialty Fluids business for $135 million

January 31, 2019 — Cabot Corp. (Boston, Mass.; www.cabot-corp.com) has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Specialty Fluids business to Sinomine (Hong Kong) Rare Metals Resources Co. in a transaction valued at $135 million. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2019 and is subject to customary closing conditions.

 

Kemira and Valmet partner on sludge and water treatment

January 23, 2019 — Kemira and Valmet Oyj (Espoo, Finland; www.valmet.com) have signed a partnership agreement to collaborate on water- and sludge-treatment applications. The agreement combines Kemira’s chemistry and process optimization expertise with Valmet’s analyzer and measurement technologies.

Mary Page Bailey

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