Markets & Companies

2017 Through the Rear-view Mirror

Part 8: Asia sees ongoing investments

09.01.2018 -

China continued to draw in investors. ExxonMobil Chemical signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement and an MoU with authorities in Huizhou to jointly evaluate plans for a world-scale petrochemical complex in China.

In addition to a refinery, the complex, which would potentially be located in the Huizhou Dayawan Economic and Technological Development Zone, would comprise a 1 million t/y steam cracker and downstream units for petrochemicals and plastics, using ExxonMobil's technology.

Through debottlenecking, German engineering plastics producer Covestro said it would further expand production capacity for polycarbonate at its Caojing site in Shanghai, China, by a third to 600,000 t/y. The new capacity is expected to be in the market by 2019. The company said it was reacting to “strong customer demand” for the engineering plastic in Asia-Pacific.

BASF announced spending of more than €200 million to expand its production network for plastic additives. A 42,000 t/y plant for antioxidants and associated forms and blends will be built at its Caojing site in Shanghai, China. The new facility is due to go on stream in 2019 with commercial-scale production reached by early 2020.

The German group also plans to build a new specialty amines plant at its site in the Nanjing Chemical Industry Park in China. The facility will have a capacity of 21,000 t/y, mostly producing 1,2-propylenediamine (1,2-PDA), n-octylamine (n-OA) and polyetheramine (PEA), and will go on stream in 2019.

AkzoNobel’s Specialty Chemicals business planned a further expansion of its organic peroxides plant in Ningbo, China, during the next two years. A project to boost capacity by 40% was due to be completed by mid-August 2017 and the Dutch group is considering a larger scale expansion that would increase current capacity by 100% - actual figures were not supplied.

Clariant and its US technology partner CB&I agreed to develop a custom-built PDH plant for China’s Xuzhou HaiDing Chemical Technology. The agreement included a license and engineering design for a 600,000 t/y facility in Pizhou, Jiangsu province, China, based on Clariant’s Catofin catalyst and heat generating material (HGM). A timescale for the project was not revealed.  The contract followed another PDH project awarded to Clariant and CB&I in February 2017 by China’s Dongguan Grand Resource Science & Technology.

China’s local authorities also gave the go-ahead to the Swiss specialty chemicals company to purchase a site within the Cangzhou National Coastal-Port Economy and Technology Development Zone in Hebei province for a proposed light stabilizers plant.

Major oil and petrochemicals producer BP said it would build a lubricants blending plant in China to help meet the country’s rapidly growing demand. The UK-based group was expecting to spend around $230 million on the project, which would be its single largest investment ever in a blending plant.

The 200,000 t/y facility, BP’s third lubricants blending plant in China, will be located in the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) in Binhai New Area, Tianjin. Start-up is anticipated before the end of 2021.

Air Products was to build six industrial gas plants and a pipeline network in China to supply nitrogen, oxygen and other bulk gases to the growing electronics industry in the People’s Republic.

The company said it had secured multiple long-term supply contracts with semiconductor and flat panel display manufacturers in major electronics clusters and industrial parks in China's key economic regions, including the Yangtze River Delta in Eastern China, Pearl River Delta in Southern China and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in Northern China.

Rival German industrial gases group Linde signed a fourth agreement with Wanhua Chemical, this time to expand gas supply to phase two of the Chinese company’s Yantai operations. Under the deal, Linde will spend €108 million to build two additional steam-driven air separation units (ASUs), complementing the site’s two existing ASUs, in order to meet Wanhua’s growing demand for industrial gases. The plants are due to go on stream in 2019.

US industrial gases group Air Products and Lu’An Clean Energy, part of Chinese coal mining conglomerate Lu’An Mining, agreed to form a $1.3 billion joint venture for a syngas-to-liquids complex at Changzhi City in Shanxi province.

Air Products will contribute four air separation units (ASUs) that it previously constructed to supply the site as well as $500 million in cash for a majority 60% stake in the new company, which will be called Air Products Lu’An (Changzhi) Co. Lu’An, which will contribute the gasification and syngas purification system, will receive $500 million and take a 40% share in the venture.

Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions, engineering and construction arm of French industrial gases powerhouse Air Liquide, signed an MoU with Philippines-based Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Company (AG&P), an integrator of infrastructure solutions across the LNG supply chain, to develop small-scale LNG infrastructure for distribution across Asia. The MoU also extends to innovative Boil-off Gas (BOG) management systems, designed to eliminate the need for investment in BOG compressors while ensuring that no gas is vented or flared.

In India, major state-owned companies Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum agreed to build what they said would be one of the world’s largest integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex. Indian Oil is reported to be taking a 50% stake in the joint venture, with the other two groups taking 25% each.

The 60 million t/y greenfield refinery complex will be built in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra state with commissioning expected by 2022. Costs in the project are estimated at $40 billion.

India’s Reliance Industries and Russia’s Sibur signed an MoU to build the first halogenated butyl rubber plant in south Asia. Reliance Industries was to take 74.9% and Sibur 25.1% of the newly formed company, Reliance Sibur Elastomers.

Under the terms of the jv, a 60,000 t/y halogenated butyl rubber plant was proposed to be built at Reliance’s integrated site in Jamnagar, Gujarat, India. Butyl rubber feedstock would be provided by a 120,000 t/y plant which is currently under construction at the site and due for commissioning in 2018. Reliance said output from the new facility will substitute imports and reduce the outflow of valuable foreign exchange from India.

South Korean conglomerate Hyosung entered into an MoU with the Vietnamese government to invest a total of $1.2 billion in a PDH and PP complex near Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam.

Located at the Cai Mep Industrial Zone in the district of Tan Thanh district, Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, the complex will comprise a PDH unit, two PP plants, an LPG storage tank and a warehouse for both LPG and petrochemical products.

The project will be built in two stages. In the first phase, Hyosung will spend $133 million to build the LPG tank and $336 million on the first PP plant. In a second phase, investments of $496 million and $226 million will be made in the PDH plant and second PP line, respectively.

Indonesia’s largest integrated petrochemical company Chandra Asri Petrochemical (CAP) said it would undertake a feasibility study to build and operate a second integrated chemical complex in the country.

The multi-billion dollar facility, which will be sited adjacent to its existing complex at Cilegon in Banten province, will comprise a 1 million t/y ethylene cracker and units for various downstream derivatives, sharing some of the existing common facilities.

Also in Indonesia, Pertamina, Chandra Asri and Pupuk Indonesia signed an agreement in principle with local mining group Bukit Asam to look at the feasibility of building a coal gasification plant and downstream chemical facilities. The complex would be located at Bukit Asam’s coal-based industrial estate at Tanjung Enim in South Sumatra.

The gasification plant, which would consume around 9 million t/y of low-rank coal, is expected to begin production in November 2022. The companies estimate that syngas from the plant would meet demand for 500,000 t/y of urea, 400,000 t/y of dimethyl ether (DME) and 450,000 t/y of PP.

To read more about the important events of 2017, click on the links below.