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Business News: September 2020

By Mary Page Bailey |

Plant Watch

Phillips 66 to transform refinery into world’s largest renewable-fuels plant

August 13, 2020 — Phillips 66 (Houston; www.phillips66.com) plans to reconfigure its petroleum refinery in Rodeo, Calif. to produce renewable fuels from used cooking oil, fats, greases and soybean oils, resulting in the production of 680 million gal/yr of renewable diesel, renewable gasoline and sustainable jet fuel. Combined with the production of renewable fuels from an existing project in development, the plant would produce more than 800 million gal/yr of renewable fuels, making it the world’s largest facility of its kind.


OCP to double phosphoric acid production with construction of new plant

August 12, 2020 — OCP Group (Casablanca, Morocco; www.ocpgroup.ma), through subsidiary Euro Maroc Phosphore (EmaPhos), is building a new plant for the production of purified phosphoric acid. This new plant will double EmaPhos’ phosphoric-acid production capacity from 140,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) to 280,000 m.t./yr, beginning in the 4th quarter of 2022.


Nouryon to expand MCA production capacity in the Netherlands

August 7, 2020 — Nouryon (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; www.nouryon.com) plans to expand its production capacity for monochloroacetic acid (MCA) in Delfzijl, the Netherlands by the end of 2020. Nouryon has also initiated a study to free up more capacity for chlorine, a key raw material for MCA.


Repsol begins production of aviation biofuels in Spain

August 5, 2020 — Repsol S.A. (Madrid, Spain; www.repsol.com) has produced the Spanish market’s first batch of bio-based aviation fuels. The biofuels were produced at Repsol’s Puertollano Industrial Complex in Ciudad Real, and more batches of aviation biofuel will continue to be manufactured at other Repsol facilities across Spain. The first batch consists of 7,000 m.t. of aviation fuel made from biomass.


Johnson Matthey technology chosen for world’s largest single-train methanol plant

August 5, 2020 — Johnson Matthey (London, U.K.; www.matthey.com) has been selected by Ningxia Baofeng Energy Group as licensor for the third methanol-synthesis plant at its coal-to-olefins complex near Yinchuan in Ningxia Province, China. With a planned capacity of 7,200 m.t./d, the methanol plant will be the largest single-train methanol plant in the world once completed.


Sabic to operate chemical plant on 100% renewable power

July 29, 2020 — In Cartagena, Spain, the polycarbonate facility operated by Sabic (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; www.sabic.com) is set to become the first large-scale chemical-production site to be run entirely on renewable power, following the signing of a major agreement with Iberdrola, a world-scale electric utility company. Iberdrola will invest almost €70 million to construct a 100-MW solar photovoltaic facility with 263,000 panels on land owned by Sabic, making it the largest industrial renewable-power plant in Europe. The plant is expected to be fully operational in 2024.


Air Liquide to invest €125 million in advanced oxygen-production plant

July 23, 2020 — Air Liquide S.A. (Paris, France; www.airliquide.com) announced an investment of €125 million to build the first world-scale air separation unit (ASU) for oxygen production with an energy-storage system that facilitates more renewable energy on the electricity grid due to its grid-stabilizing capability. This plant will have an oxygen production capacity of 2,200 m.t./d, and will be built in Port of Moerdijk, the Netherlands. With operations slated to begin in 2022, the system allows for the storage of up to 40 MWh of energy.


Mergers & Acquisitions

BASF acquires glass-fiber 3D-printing business from Owens Corning

August 10, 2020 — Forward AM, the 3D-printing business of BASE SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; www.basf.com), has acquired the Xstrand business line from Owens Corning (Toledo, Ohio; www.owenscorning.com). The acquisition of Xstrand enables Forward AM to expand its portfolio with advanced glass-fiber-reinforced filaments for 3D printing.


BASF acquires alkoxylate production assets from Sinopec

August 7, 2020 — BASF will increase its alkoxylate capacity through the acquisition of land, buildings and production assets from Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co. The acquired facilities adjoin the existing BASF Jinshan site. With the current alkoxylate line in the Jinshan plant running at full capacity, this acquisition will double the alkoxylate production capacity at Jinshan.


Momentive to sell sealants business to Henkel

August 5, 2020 — Momentive Performance Materials Inc. (Waterford, N.Y.; www.momentive.com) announced the sale of its Consumer Sealants business to Henkel AG & Co. KGaA (Düsseldorf, Germany; www.henkel.com). Momentive will continue to manufacture consumer-line products through 2021. The move away from consumer sealants will enable greater focus on unique silicones and specialty applications.


Air Liquide to acquire 16 ASUs from Sasol

July 29, 2020 — Air Liquide will acquire the biggest oxygen-production site in the world from Sasol Ltd. (Johannesburg, South Africa). Located in Secunda, South Africa, the site comprises 16 ASUs with an installed capacity of 42,000 m.t./d. The amount of the initial investment is approximately €440 million.


Total sells Lindsey refinery to the Prax Group

July 27, 2020 — Total SE (Paris, France; www.total.com) agreed to sell its Lindsey petroleum refinery, located in Immingham, U.K., and associated logistic assets, as well as all of the related rights and obligations, to the Prax Group. The Lindsey refinery has production capacity of 5.4 million m.t./yr.


Ashland to sell its maleic anhydride business

July 27, 2020 — Ashland Global Holdings Inc. (Wilmington, Del.; www.ashland.com) announced a definitive agreement to sell the company’s maleic anhydride business and manufacturing facility in Neal, W. Va. to AOC Materials LLC for $100 million. The transaction with AOC is expected to close prior to the end of 2020.


Baker Hughes sells specialty polymers business to SK Capital

July 27, 2020 — Baker Hughes (Houston; www.bakerhughes.com) agreed to sell its specialty polymers business to SK Capital Partners, LP. The specialty polymers business, with manufacturing operations in Barnsdall, Oklahoma, produces low-molecular-weight olefin polymers, including a range of differentiated functional polymers and premium, high-melting-point polyethylene waxes.


Total and IOCL form JV focused on bitumen derivatives

July 27, 2020 — Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. (IOCL; New Delhi, India) and Total announced the formation of a 50:50 joint venture (JV) that will manufacture and market bitumen derivatives and specialty products in India. The JV will set up manufacturing sites across India.


Stepan acquires Clariant’s anionic surfactant assets in Mexico

July 20, 2020 — Stepan Co. (Northfield, Ill.; www.stepan.com) has entered into an agreement to acquire Clariant AG’s (Muttenz, Switzerland; www.clariant.com) anionic surfactant business and associated sulfation equipment located in Santa Clara, Mexico. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2020.


Celanese sells $1.5-billion stake in Polyplastics JV to Daicel

July 20, 2020 — Celanese Corp. (Dallas, Tex.) reached a definitive agreement to sell its 45% equity investment in the Polyplastics joint venture (JV) to Daicel Corp. (Osaka, Japan; www.daicel.com) for $1.575 billion. Following the completion of the transaction, Daicel will own 100% of Polyplastics.

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