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Business News: Plant Watch for September 2018

By Chemical Engineering |

Plant Watch

Asahi Kasei to install alkaline-water electrolysis system for Toshiba Energy

August 13, 2018 — Asahi Kasei Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; received an order from Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corp. (Kanagawa, Japan; for a 10-MW single-unit alkaline-water-electrolysis system to be installed at the Fukushima Hydrogen Research Field. Integrated with a large-scale solar-power plant, the electrolysis system will form a core part of the Fukushima Hydrogen Research Field, which is scheduled for test operation in late 2019 and startup in the summer of 2020.


Invista begins work for world-scale adiponitrile plant in China

August 8, 2018 — Invista (Wichita, Kan.; has begun engineering work to build a new plant in China using its latest adiponitrile technology. The new plant would have a minimum production capacity of 300,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr), with an estimated investment in excess of $1 billion. Construction is targeted for 2020 and production would begin in 2023.


ExxonMobil starts up ethane cracker in Baytown

July 27, 2018 — ExxonMobil Corp. (Irving, Tex.; commenced operations at its new ethane cracker at the company’s integrated Baytown complex. The new 1.5-million-m.t./yr cracker will provide ethylene feedstock to new performance polyethylene (PE) lines at the company’s Mont Belvieu plastics plant, which began production in the fall of 2017.


BASF plans ethylene oxide capacity expansion in Antwerp

July 24, 2018 — BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; plans to pursue a significant capacity expansion of the integrated ethylene oxide complex at its Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium. The project includes capacity expansions for ethylene oxide and for several downstream derivatives, such as surfactants. The final investment decision is expected to be made in 2019.


Shintech to build an integrated PVC plant in Louisiana

July 24, 2018 — Shintech Inc., a subsidiary of Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. (Tokyo; www., began construction for a new integrated plant to produce polyvinyl chloride (PVC) from salt in Plaquemine, La. The new plant will be capable of producing 860,000 m.t./yr of vinyl chloride monomer, a raw material of PVC, and 660,000 m.t./yr of caustic soda. The project will increase PVC capacity by 290,000 m.t./yr.


Oxea starts up propanol plant in Texas

July 20, 2018 — Oxea GmbH (Monheim am Rhein, Germany; has successfully started up its new world-scale propanol production unit at its Bay City, Tex. site. The unit has capacity to produce 100,000 m.t./yr of propanol. The fully operational unit will increase Oxea’s North American production capacity for n-propanol by 75%.


New PP plant opens at Socar’s Sumgayit petrochemicals complex

July 20, 2018 — Maire Tecnimont S.p.A. (Milan, Italy; and Socar Polymer (Baku, Azerbaijian; officially opened a new polypropylene (PP) plant at Socar’s petrochemical complex in Sumgayit, Azerbaijan. The new PP plant has a capacity of 180,000 m.t./yr. Also currently under completion at the site is a high-density PE plant with 120,000 m.t./yr capacity.


Mergers & Acquisitions

PTTGC and Mitsui enter joint ventures for PTA and PET production

August 13, 2018 — PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC; Bangkok, Thailand; and TOC Glycol Co. (TOCGC), a subsidiary of PTTGC, plan to sign joint venture (JV) agreements with Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. (MCI; Tokyo, Japan; to cooperate in managing Siam Mitsui PTA Co. (SMPC), a purified terephthalic acid (PTA) producer, and Thai PET Resin Co. (TPRC), a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin producer. PTTGC and TOCGC will hold 74% of the shares in SMPC and TPRC, while Mitsui Chemicals will hold 26%.


Saudi Aramco, Air Products and ACWA Power to form $8-billion JV

August 13, 2018 — Saudi Aramco (Dhahran, Saudi Arabia;, Air Products (Lehigh Valley, Pa.; and ACWA Power (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; have signed agreements to form an over $8-billion gasification and power JV located at Jazan Economic City in Saudi Arabia. The JV will purchase the gasification assets, power block and the associated utilities from Saudi Aramco for over $8 billion. These assets are currently under construction and will be transferred to the JV upon successful startup, currently scheduled for 2019.


Indorama acquires French plastics recycler Sorepla Industrie

August 8, 2018 — Indorama Ventures Public Company Ltd. (IVL; Bangkok, Thailand; entered into an agreement to acquire Sorepla Industrie S.A., a plastics recycler in France. Sorepla operates a 52,000-m.t./yr facility consisting of three production lines: recycled PET; recycled high-density polyethylene (rHDPE); and food-grade pellets.


Ascend Performance Materials to acquire Netherlands-based plastics compounder

August 8, 2018 — Ascend Performance Materials, LLC (Houston; purchased Britannia Techno Polymer (BTP), an engineering plastics compounder based in the Netherlands. BTP specializes in the production of proprietary nylon compounds.


Lanxess plans to sell remaining 50% stake in Arlanxeo to Saudi Aramco

August 8, 2018 — Lanxess AG (Cologne, Germany; plans to sell its remaining 50% stake in synthetic rubber JV Arlanxeo (Maastricht, the Netherlands; to its JV partner Saudi Aramco. The parties expect to complete the transaction by the end of 2018. The JV is valued at €3.0 billion. Lanxess expects to receive approximately €1.4 billion from the transaction.


Ingevity to take full ownership of Purification Cellutions joint venture

July 25, 2018 — Ingevity Corp. (North Charleston, S.C.; signed an agreement to acquire the remaining 30% of Purification Cellutions, LLC (Waynesboro, Ga.) from its partner Applied Technology Ltd. Partnership. The purchase price is approximately $80 million. Purification Cellutions manufactures honeycomb scrubbers used for vapor-emissions control.


Celanese to sell ethanol plant, form JV with Chengzhi

July 20, 2018 — Celanese Corp. (Dallas, Tex.; intends to sell its Nanjing ethanol unit to Chengzhi Shareholding Co., along with all related assets, including equipment, storage tanks and pipelines. This agreement also concerns the formation of a JV surrounding Celanese’s TCX ethanol-production technology. The companies are also planning to restart the Nanjing unit as soon as possible, likely in 2019.


AkzoNobel acquires peroxides manufacturer in Brazil

July 20, 2018 — AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; finalized an agreement to acquire Brazilian firm Polinox, a producer of ketone peroxides. The sale is expected to close in late 2018. The company will acquire Polinox’s Brasnox, Perbenzox and TecnoxSuper brands. AkzoNobel will invest to add capacity in its own site at Itupeva, Brazil and transfer operations there after the expansion.


Borealis acquires plastics recycler in Austria

July 18, 2018 — Borealis Group AG (Vienna, Austria; has signed an agreement for the acquisition of 100% of the shares in plastics recycler Ecoplast Kunststoffrecycling GmbH. Based in Wildon, Austria, Ecoplast processes around 35,000 m.t./yr of post-consumer plastic waste from households and industrial consumers, turning them into polyethylene recyclates.



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