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Business News October 2018

By Chemical Engineering |

Plant Watch

Dow announces investment plans to increase global silicones production

September 12, 2018 — The Dow Chemical Company (Dow; Midland, Mich.; will make investments in its global silicones businesses, including plans to build a new hydroxyl functional siloxane polymer plant in Carrollton, Kentucky, which will increase Dow’s polymer capacity in the Americas by 65%, and a new specialty resin plant in Zhangjiagang, China, which will provide resin intermediates for high-value silicone products. In addition, the company also announced a series of incremental siloxane debottleneck projects over the next three years, as well as the start of a feasibility study for the construction of a new, world-scale siloxane plant.


Versalis opens new EPDM rubber plant in Italy

September 12, 2018 — Versalis (San Donato Milanese, Italy; has opened a €250-million production plant in Ferrara, Italy for ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber, which will mainly supply the automotive industry. This investment in Ferrara will increase Versalis’ overall production capacity by around 50,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr).


Invista to increase capacity for nylon 6,6 polymer in Shanghai

September 12, 2018 — Invista (Wichita, Kan.; plans to add 40,000 m.t. of nylon 6,6 polymer capacity at its current 150,000-m.t./yr polymer plant at the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park. Construction is targeted for mid-2019 and production would begin in 2020.


Air Products to build world-scale liquid H 2 plant at its La Porte facility

September 12, 2018 — Air Products (Lehigh Valley, Pa.; plans to build a new liquid hydrogen (H 2) plant at its La Porte, Tex. facility. The liquid H 2 plant will produce approximately 30 m.t./d, and is expected to be onstream in 2021.


Methanex to use Johnson Matthey methanol technology for new plant

September 6, 2018 — Johnson Matthey (London, U.K.; has been awarded a contract by Methanex Corp. (Vancouver, B.C., Canada; to supply a license for a 5,000-m.t./d methanol project, including associated engineering, proprietary equipment and catalyst supply. This is for a new-build unit with a capacity of 1.8 million m.t./yr of methanol. The facility will be located next to Methanex’s existing facilities in Geismar, La.


Lanxess doubles production capacity for DMTD specialty additives

September 6, 2018 — Lanxess AG (Cologne, Germany; has commissioned a new production line at its Mannheim site for the synthesis of dimercaptothiadiazole (DMTD) derivatives. These chemicals are added to lubricants as multifunctional additives. The production line doubles the annual production capacity of these specialty additives.


Oxiteno commences operations at Pasadena alkoxylation plant

September 5, 2018 — Oxiteno (São Paulo, Brazil; commenced operations at its new alkoxylation manufacturing plant in Pasadena, Tex. The plant’s production capacity is 170,000 m.t./yr, and Oxiteno has invested around $200 million over six years in the project.


BASF to increase capacity for hexanediol at its Ludwigshafen site

September 4, 2018 —BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany, intends to increase the production capacity of 1,6-hexanediol (HDO) at its Ludwigshafen Verbund site by more than 50%. After the startup in 2021, BASF’s global annual nameplate capacity of HDO will be over 70,000 m.t./yr at its production facilities in Ludwigshafen and Freeport, Tex.


Mitsui Chemicals to increase elastomers production capacity in Singapore

August 24, 2018 — Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. (Tokyo; is set to raise its production capacity for high-performance elastomers at its facility on Jurong Island, Singapore. The site currently produces 200,000 m.t./yr of elastomers, and after the expansion efforts, it is expected that production capacity will rise to 225,000 m.t./yr, with startup tentatively scheduled for July 2020.


LyondellBasell breaks ground for world’s largest PO/TBA plant

August 23, 2018 — LyondellBasell (Rotterdam, the Netherlands; officially broke ground on what will be the largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant ever built. The Houston-area project is estimated to cost $2.4 billion. Once in operation, the plant will produce 70,000 m.t./yr of PO and 1 million m.t./yr of TBA. Startup of the plant is planned for 2021.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Thermo Fisher to acquire bioprocessing business from BD

September 10, 2018 — Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (Waltham, Mass.; has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Advanced Bioprocessing business of Becton, Dickinson and Co. (BD). BD’s Advanced Bioprocessing business has annualized revenue of approximately $100 million and will be integrated into Thermo Fisher’s Life Sciences Solutions Segment. The acquired business provides technical services related to a variety of peptone products for biopharmaceutical applications. The transaction is expected to close in early 2019.


Honeywell acquires sulfur recovery specialist Ortloff Engineers

September 5, 2018 — Honeywell (Morris Plains, N.J.; has acquired Ortloff Engineers, Ltd. (Midland, Tex.;, a privately held licensor and developer of specialized technologies related to natural gas processing and sulfur recovery. Ortloff will become part of Honeywell UOP’s (Des Plaines, Ill.; Gas Processing and Hydrogen business. Ortloff also specializes in removing sulfur from petroleum refinery feedstocks.


Covestro and LyondellBasell initiate joint project in the Netherlands

September 4, 2018 — Covestro AG (Leverkusen, Germany; and its joint venture partner LyondellBasell kicked off a large investment project at their site in Maasvlakte-Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The Circular Steam Project incorporates technology to convert the site’s water-based waste into energy. The new installation will result in an estimated 140,000 m.t./yr reduction in CO 2 emissions and will also avoid the release of around 11 million kg of salt residue into surface water.


Total sells its polystyrene business in China to Ineos Styrolution

August 31, 2018 — Ineos Styrolution Group GmbH (Frankfurt am Main, Germany; will acquire the Chinese polystyrene business of Total S.A. (Paris, France; The transaction includes two facilities with a production capacity of 200,000 m.t./yr each, located in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, and in Foshan, Guangdong Province, respectively.


Evonik to divest agrochemicals site in Kansas

August 31, 2018 — Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany; announced the divestment of its Jayhawk site in Galena, Kansas. The site produces precursors for agrochemicals. Under a share deal, funds advised by the international investment firm Permira will acquire the site, along with its approximately 120 employees.


Atlas Copco to acquire the cryogenics business of Brooks Automation

August 28, 2018 — Atlas Copco AB (Stockholm, Sweden; has agreed to acquire the cryogenics business of Brooks Automation, Inc. (, for a total value of $675 million. The acquisition includes cryo-pump operations located in Chelmsford, Mass. and Monterrey, Mexico, as well as a network of sales and service centers and Brooks Automation’s 50% share of Ulvac Cryogenics, Inc. (UCI).


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