Lanxess is in the process of expanding some specialised petrochemicals derivative plants in Germany with a planned 40% rise in hydrogenated nitrile butadiene rubber (HNBR) capacity at Leverkusen by April 2012, as per BMI’s report on the German Petrochemical Industry. Current capacity was not disclosed. Meanwhile, Evonik Industries is building a functionalized polybutadiene plant at Marl that will come onstream in Q3-12, which will allow the company to offer hydroxyl-functionalized polybutadiene to its customers in the adhesives and sealants market. BASF is planning a 17% expansion of its production of extruded PS insulation material – Styrodur C – for rigid foam panels at Ludwigshafen by end-2011 amid 3-5% expected annual growth in the European XPS market. BASF is also increasing the compounding capacity for its Ultramid nylon engineering plastics and Ultradur polybutylene terephthalate facilities at Schwarzheide. The project is due for completion in mid-2012, adding 10,000 tpa of compounding capacity; the company is expected average annual growth of over 5% in Europe following double-digit growth in 2010 and 2011.
BASF is planning to build 300,000 tpa integrated toluene diisocynate (TDI) complex in Europe, possibly at its Ludwigshafen site, by 2014. A final decision on the site was expected in Q3-11 and completion is expected by 2014. Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) is also reactivating a project to build a 300,000 tpa TDI plant at Dormagen, due to come onstream in 2014 and replacing the company’s existing TDI facilities at Dormagen and Brunsbüttel.
At the same time, there is a retreat from basic chemicals in Germany with Shell Chemicals closing its 2B Rheinland steam cracker at the Wesseling refinery complex by the end of 2011, and ending production of benzene and toluene at the plant by the end of 2012. The 2B cracker has capacity for 240,000 tpa of ethylene and is relatively uncompetitive because it is not world scale.