World's biggest chemical group by sales BASF's expansion at the Nanjing petrochemical complex in China is on course. As part of the US$900 mln expansion, ethylene capacity is planned to be increased from 600,000 tpa by 140,000 tpa. The plant is scheduled for start-up by end of 2010 or early 2011. Government approval is expected in the third quarter of this year. BASF has partnered Sinopec in the project, investing US$2.9 bln in the first phase - the largest single investment in BASF's 140-year history.
Plans include expansion of its ethylene oxide plant and further development of EO derivatives. This would involve producing non-ionic surfactants for detergents and solvent butylglycol ether as well as new projects to produce ethanolamines and ethyleamines. Capacity for amines was expected to be 130,000 tpa while butyl glycols capacity would be around 80,000 tpa. As part of the expansion, the project would produce butadiene (BD) and isobutene as chemical raw materials, 2-propylheptanol for new generation plasticizers and polyisobutene derivatives as fuel and lubricant additives. The project would also extend the acrylics value chain to produce super absorbent polymers (SAP) and increase its oxo-alcohols capacity to 305,000 tpa from 250,000 tpa by the end of the year.
The Sichuan earthquake earlier this month has not derailed plans for a methyl di-p-phenylene isocynate (MDI) project in neighbouring Chongqing.
BASF views Asia as the growth market for the foreseeable future and is investing heavily to benefit from the trend in the years to come.