BASF and Sinopec Corp (China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation) have jointly submitted a technical and commercial feasibility study of the planned US$900 mln expansion for approval to the Chinese government. Expansion is planned at their joint chemical Verbund site in Nanjing, operated by the joint venture BASF-YPC Co. Ltd. (BYC). The expansion plan encompasses:
* Expansion of the steam cracker from 600,000 to 750,000 metric tpa of ethylene.
* Expansion of the ethylene oxide (EO) plant and development of EO derivatives to strengthen the ethylene value chain by producing non-ionic surfactants for detergents and the solvent butylglycol ether. New projects regarding production of ethanolamines and ethyleneamines for agrochemicals.
* Development of the C4 value chain including C4 specialties: Butadiene and isobutene as chemical raw materials, 2-propylheptanol for a new-generation plasticizer and polyisobutene as fuel and lubricant additives.
* Extension of the acrylics value chain to produce superabsorbent polymers (SAP) for hygiene and industrial applications.
* Expansion of the existing oxo-alcohol and propionic acid plants.
The new activities are expected to come on stream stepwise starting already this year; the cracker expansion is scheduled for 2009/2010. Both companies also agreed to integrate another joint operation Yangzi-BASF Styrenics (YBS) in Nanjing into BYC to increase efficiency and make full use of existing synergies.