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Business News: January 2021

By Mary Page Bailey |

Plant Watch

LG Chem to run Wuxi cathode-materials plant on 100% renewable power

December 14, 2020 — LG Chem Ltd. (Seoul, South Korea; www.lgchem.com) concluded an agreement related to the supply of 140 GWh of renewable energy for its cathode-materials plant in Wuxi, China from local wind- and solar-power company Yunfengxin Energy. This 140-GWh capacity can supply all electricity required by the Wuxi facility annually. LG Chem’s Wuxi plant is projected to operate solely using renewable energy beginning in 2021.


Mitsubishi Chemical acquires land in Louisiana for new MMA plant

December 10, 2020 — Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. (Tokyo; www.m-chemical.co.jp) acquired greenfield property at a large integrated site in Geismar, La. and plans to advance its feasibility study for the design and construction of a methyl methacrylate (MMA) plant with a production capacity of 350,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr). The project is in the early engineering stage and is scheduled for final investment decision in early 2022. If approved, the plant would commence production in 2025.


Petrofac announces startup of Kuwait’s largest crude distillation unit

December 10, 2020 — Petrofac Ltd. (St. Helier, U.K.; www.petrofac.com) announced that the Clean Fuels Project for Kuwait National Petroleum Co. (KNPC) has reached a major milestone with the successful startup of the crude distillation unit (CDU) at Mina Abdullah Refinery. With a petroleum-refining capacity of 264,000 barrels per day (bbl/d), it is the largest CDU in Kuwait.


Linde to construct oxygen plant at Metsä Fibre’s new bioproducts plant

December 8, 2020 — Metsä Fibre Oy (Espoo, Finland; www.metsafibre.com) and Linde plc (Guildford, U.K.; www.linde.com) signed an agreement related to the construction of an onsite oxygen plant to supply Metsä Fibre’s new bioproduct mill in Kemi, Finland. The new oxygen plant would be one of the world’s largest units based on vacuum pressure-swing adsorption (VPSA) technology.


Sinochem starts up ethylene plant using KBR cracking technology

December 8, 2020 — KBR, Inc. (Houston; www.kbr.com) announced the successful startup of Sinochem Quanzhou Petrochemical Co.’s 1,000,000-m.t./yr ethylene plant in Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China. The ethylene plant is part of Sinochem Quanzhou’s grassroots integrated petroleum-refining and petrochemical manufacturing complex.


Yara announces world-scale green ammonia project

December 7, 2020 — Yara International ASA (Oslo, Norway; www.yara.com) has announced plans to produce 500,000 m.t./yr of green ammonia in Norway. Yara is currently seeking partners and government support, and predicts that the project could be operational in 2026.


Lanxess expands production capacity for iron-oxide pigments

December 2, 2020 — Lanxess AG (Cologne, Germany; www.lanxess.com) expanded its capacity for black synthetic iron-oxide pigments at its Krefeld-Uerdingen, Germany site by more than 5,000 m.t./yr. The site’s debottlenecking measures will position it to serve demand from the construction industry for black pigments.


Perstorp plans to buildsustainable-methanol plant

November 24, 2020 — Perstorp AB (Malmö, Sweden; www.perstorp.com) has developed a new technology to produce methanol from a variety of recovered waste streams and hydrogen via electrolysis, aiming to substitute the 200,000 m.t./yr of conventional methanol that the company uses as a raw material for chemical products. The goal is to start producing sustainable methanol in 2025.


Arkema starts up expanded fluoropolymer capacity in China

November 24, 2020 — Arkema S.A. (Colombes, France; www.arkema.com) started up an expanded fluoropolymer production line at its Changshu, China plant, one of the company’s largest sites. Serving the Li-ion-battery market, the new expansion raises production volumes for Kynar fluoropolymers by around 50%.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Trinseo to acquire Arkema’s PMMA business

December 14, 2020 — Trinseo, LLC (Berwyn, Pa.; www.trinseo.com) agreed to acquire Arkema’s polymethyl methacrylates (PMMA) and activated methyl methacrylates (MMA) businesses. The transaction is expected to generate approximately $50 million in annual cost synergies by 2023.


Mitsubishi Chemical to consolidate international subsidiaries

December 10, 2020 — Mitsubishi Chemical will integrate subsidiaries at the national level in the U.S., U.K. and Germany. Nine subsidiaries in the U.S. will be integrated into new company Mitsubishi Chemical America, Inc, which will be located in Charlotte, N.C. In the U.K., five subsidiaries will be combined into new company Mitsubishi Chemical UK Ltd., located in Billingham, Cleveland, U.K. In Germany, five subsidiaries will be merged under the new integrated company Mitsubishi Chemical Europe GmbH, located in Düsseldorf.


Aramco and Baker Hughes form JV focused on non-metallic products

December 10, 2020 — Saudi Aramco (Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; www.aramco.com) and Baker Hughes (Houston; www.bakerhughes.com) established Novel, a 50/50 joint venture (JV) to develop and commercialize a broad range of non-metallic products. Initially, the JV is constructing a manufacturing facility that will produce non-metallic pipelines, including reinforced thermoplastic pipes (RTP) from composite materials.


Evonik acquires biodegradable polymers business from Durect

December 8, 2020 — Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany; www.evonik.com) signed an agreement to acquire the Lactel business of biodegradable polymers from Durect Corp. (Birmingham, Ala.) for $15 million. Lactel polymers are used in advanced drug delivery, biomaterials for tissue engineering and 3D-printed medical devices.


Huntsman acquires specialty-chemicals manufacturer Gabriel Performance Products

December 7, 2020 — Huntsman Corp. (The Woodlands, Tex.; www.huntsman.com) agreed to acquire Gabriel Performance Products, a manufacturer of specialty additives and epoxy curing agents. Under terms of the agreement, Huntsman will pay $250 million for Gabriel, including its three manufacturing facilities located in Ashtabula, Ohio, Harrison City, Pa. and Rock Hill, S.C.


LyondellBasell and Suez jointly acquire recycling business

December 7, 2020 — LyondellBasell N.V. (Rotterdam, the Netherlands; www.lyondellbasell.com) and Suez (Paris, France; www.suez.com) jointly acquired Tivaco, a plastics recycling company located in Blandain, Belgium. The company will become part of Quality Circular Polymers (QCP), the companies’ existing JV. With this transaction, QCP will increase its production capacity for recycled materials to approximately 55,000 m.t./yr.


Solvay to sell barium, strontium and sodium percarbonate businesses

November 24, 2020 — Solvay S.A. (Brussels, Belgium; www.solvay.com) has reached an agreement with Latour Capital to sell its technical-grade barium and strontium business in Germany, Spain and Mexico, as well as its sodium percarbonate business in Germany. The completion of the transaction is expected in the first quarter of 2021.


Ineos to acquire Sasol’s stake in Gemini HDPE business

November 24, 2020 — Ineos (London; www.ineos.com) agreed with Sasol Ltd. (Johannesburg, South Africa; www.sasol.co.za) to acquire Sasol’s 50% membership interest in Gemini HDPE LLC for $404 million. Gemini is a toll manufacturer of bimodal high-density polyethylene (HDPE) products.

Mary Page Bailey

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