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Plant Watch: October 2020

By Mary Page Bailey |

Plant Watch

Braskem begins commercial production at La Porte PP plant

September 11, 2020 — Braskem America (Philadelphia, Pa.; www.braskem.com) launched commercial production at its new polypropylene (PP) production line in La Porte, Tex., which has a production capacity of over 450,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) and has the capability to produce homopolymer, impact copolymer and random copolymers. Construction began in 2017, with the final phase of mechanical construction completed in June 2020.

 

Amyris scales up production of fermentation-based cannabinoid

September 10, 2020 — Amyris, Inc. (Emeryville, Calif.; www.amyris.com) has successfully scaled up production of the cannabinoid compound cannabigerol (CBG) using an industrial fermentation process. Amyris expects to deliver about 1 ton of high-purity CBG through fermentation, which is an alternative to the traditional production method of extraction from the Cannabis sativa L. plant.

 

Momentive to expand silicone production capacity for electronics applications

September 9, 2020 — Momentive Performance Materials Inc. (Waterford, N.Y.; www.momentive.com) is investing $15 million in expanded electronic materials production in its Waterford, N.Y., facility. This immediate investment will drive enhanced assets and silicone-production capabilities that will be operational in 2021.

 

LyondellBasell starts up molecular-recycling plant in Italy

September 8, 2020 — LyondellBasell Industries N.V. (Rotterdam, the Netherlands; www.lyondellbasell.com) started up a molecular-recycling facility in Ferrara, Italy. LyondellBasell’s proprietary recycling technology aims to return post-consumer plastic waste to its molecular form for use as a feedstock for new plastic materials.

 

Chandra Asri starts up MTBE and B1 plants in Indonesia

September 8, 2020 — PT Chandra Asri Petrochemical Tbk (Jakarta, Indonesia; www.chandra-asri.com) has commenced operation of its new methyl tert -butyl ether (MTBE) and 1-butene (B1) plants. These facilities are the first of their kind in Indonesia. Construction on the plants began in 2018, with Toyo Engineering Corp. and PT Inti Karya Persada Tehnik (IKPT) providing services.

 

Air Liquide announces new investment serving Eastman Chemical in Texas

September 3, 2020 — Air Liquide S.A. (Paris, France; www.airliquide.com) announced a longterm supply agreement with Eastman Chemical Co. (Kingsport, Tenn.; www.eastman.com) to provide additional gaseous oxygen, nitrogen and synthesis gas supporting Eastman’s production facilities in Longview, Tex. Air Liquide will invest more than $160 million to modernize existing assets and build a new air-separation unit and partial oxidation unit.

 

Bora LyondellBasell JV starts up polyolefins plant in China

September 1, 2020 — LyondellBasell and China’s Liaoning Bora Enterprise Group started up their new joint-venture (JV) polyolefin complex in Liaoning, China. The 50-50 JV will operate under the name Bora LyondellBasell Petrochemical Co. Ltd. (BLYB). The BLYB facility includes a 1.1-million-m.t./yr flexible cracker and associated polyethylene production capacity of 800,000 m.t./yr, as well as 600,000 m.t./yr of polypropylene capacity.

 

Repsol to upgrade Tarragona plant to produce new impact-resistant polymers

August 28, 2020 — Repsol S.A.’s (Madrid, Spain; www.repsol.com) industrial complex in Tarragona, Spain will adapt one of its units to manufacture advanced polymers with high resistance to impact. The project has a budget of approximately €32 million. When operational in 2021, the plant will be the first of its kind in the Iberian Peninsula. In order to manufacture this new range of polymers, the company will install a second reactor at one of its PP production units in Tarragona.

 

Evonik to invest in Marl C4-production network

August 27, 2020 — Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany; www.evonik.com) is investing around €15 million in its C4-production network in Marl, Germany. Targeted debottlenecking measures will increase the local production capacity for isobutene derivatives, such as trimethylhexanal (TMH), tert -butyl alcohol (TBA) and diisobutylene (DiB), by more than 50% by December 2021. In addition, logistics will be further expanded in order to increase the flexibility of supply.

 

Petronas Chemical and LG Chem to build new NBL plant in Malaysia

August 24, 2020 — Petronas Chemicals Group Berhad (PCG; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; www.petronas.com/pcg) and LG Chem Ltd. (Seoul, South Korea; www.lgchem.com) agreed to build a nitrile butadiene latex (NBL) manufacturing plant at the Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC) in Johor, Indonesia, to target the growing nitrile glove market. Construction of the plant will begin in 2021, while production is scheduled to start in 2023. When completed, the plant will have a production capacity of 200,000 m.t./yr of NBL.

 

Mergers & Acquisitions

DuPont sells its trichlorosilane business

September 10, 2020 — DuPont (Wilmington, Del.; www.dupont.com) has divested its trichlorosilane (TCS) production business to Hemlock Semiconductor Operations (HSC). TCS is the primary raw material used in producing ultra-pure polysilicon supplies for the semiconductor and solar industries. DuPont’s TCS business owns a production facility in Midland, Mich., which will enable HSC to control supply and substantially reduce costs.

 

KBR and JM join forces for new ammonia-methanol process

September 8, 2020 — KBR, Inc. (Houston. Tex.; www.kbr.com) and Johnson Matthey (JM; London, U.K.; www.matthey.com) have signed an agreement to license a new ammonia-methanol co-production process. The co-production process is based on technologies utilizing KBR’s proprietary Purifier ammonia process and JM’s methanol process, leveraging possible synergies between the two processes. The co-production of methanol and ammonia in a single plant offers the potential to reduce capital expenditures and operating expenses.

 

Ascend completes acquisition of Italian firms

September 3, 2020 — Ascend Performance Materials, LLC (Houston; www.ascendmaterials.com) completed its acquisition of Italian firms Poliblend and Esseti Plast. With this purchase, Ascend expands its portfolio into additional engineered plastics, recycled resins and masterbatches. The acquisition also includes Poliblend Deutschland, a distribution facility located in Germany.

 

AkzoNobel acquires Stahl Performance Powder Coatings

September 2, 2020 — AkzoNobel (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; www.akzonobel.com) has completed the acquisition of Stahl Performance Powder Coatings and its range of products for heat-sensitive substrates. The Stahl technology acquired by AkzoNobel is the only one of its kind in the powder coatings industry. It includes both ultraviolet and thermally curing powders, and will enable the company to penetrate the ultra-low cure domain.

 

Huntsman sells stake in Venator for $100 million

August 31, 2020 — Venator Materials plc (Wynyard, U.K.; www.venatorcorp.com) announced that funds advised by SK Capital Partners, L.P. have agreed to purchase approximately 42.5 million Venator shares, representing just under 40% of Venator’s outstanding shares, from Huntsman Corp. (The Woodlands, Tex.; www.huntsman.com) for a purchase price of approximately $100 million. The transaction is expected to close near year-end.

 

Evonik acquires U.S.-based catalyst specialist Porocel

August 26, 2020 — Evonik is acquiring Porocel Group (Houston; www.porocel.com) for $210 million to accelerate the growth of its catalysts business. Porocel offers a technology for highly efficient rejuvenation of desulfurization catalysts, which are in increasing demand to produce low-sulfur fuel. Porocel has production facilities in the U.S., Canada, Luxembourg and Singapore. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2020.■

Mary Page Bailey

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