BASF Expanding MDI in North America

18.11.2016 -

BASF is in the process of expanding its North American MDI output to take advantage of the abundance of cheap shale gas-derived feedstock on the US Gulf Coast. The German chemical giant said it has started engineering work at its production facilities at Geismar, Louisiana, and will lift output incrementally from 300,000 t/y currently to around 600,000 t/y. It did not specify when the various stages are planned to go on stream but hinted that the work will progress in step with demand momentum for the polyurethane feedstock.

“The engineering for the capacity increase of the MDI synthesis has already started. In subsequent steps, which will be implemented in alignment with business development, the MDI precursor units in Geismar will be expanded accordingly,” said Stefano Pigozzi, president of the Monomers division. Using the latest proprietary technologies will ensure best-in-class productivity and energy efficiency, he added.

Stefan Doerr, head of BASF’s regional business unit Monomers North America, said the capacity upgrade will support the growth of customers in the region. He said the existing infrastructure at Geismar, combined with the competitive raw materials based on shale gas, make the site “ideally suited” for this investment.

The world’s largest chemical producer also ranks among the world’s biggest MDI producers with output capability of nearly 1.8m t at locations in Germany, Belgium, Korea and China, in addition to the US.