US Firms Benefit from Trump China Trade Visit

15.11.2017 -

Donald Trump's trade mission to China last week has generated new business opportunities for several US chemical companies, including Air Products, Honeywell UOP and Dow Chemical.

In Beijing, Air Products and Shaanxi Future Energy (SFEC), a subsidiary of Yankuang Group, signed a deal to build a $3.5 billion coal-to-syngas facility in Yulin City, Shaanxi province. The two firms will form a joint venture majority owned by Air Products to build, own and operate an air separation, gasification and syngas clean-up system to supply SFEC's site.

The air separation units will produce around 40,000 t/d of oxygen to support the production of about 2.5 million Nm3/hour of syngas. SFEC will supply coal, steam and power and receive the syngas under a long-term contract.

The US group currently supplies SFEC's phase 1 project in Yulin with 12,000 t/day of oxygen. The addition of a second phase will make the complex one of China's largest coal-to-fuel and chemicals facilities, with an output of 4 million t/y of liquid fuels and chemicals, Air Products said. The project is expected to go on stream in 2021. 

“We look forward to further extending our excellent partnership with Air Products, leveraging their technology, reliability and expertise to enable us to produce even more high-quality fuel and chemical products that drive growth and support sustainable development,” commented Yankuang’s chairman, Li Xiyong.

Air Products' chairman, president and CEO, Seifi Ghasemi, described the deal as another excellent example of the company’s strategy to grow profitably by deploying capital into world-scale industrial gas projects. In September, the gases producer signed a deal to form a $1.3 billion joint venture with Lu’An Mining for a syngas-to-liquids complex in Changzhi City, Shanxi.

Also during the visit, Honeywell UOP signed a memorandum of understanding with China’s Oriental Energy, which plans to adopt the US group’s Oleflex technology for five new propane dehydrogenation (PDH) projects in the People’s Republic. Total propylene output from the units will reach 3 million t/y, helping Oriental to become the largest on-purpose PDH producer in the world, Honeywell said. Start-up dates were not given for the plants, which would be located in coastal cities, including Ningbo and Lianyugang.

In May this year, Honeywell announced that Oriental Energy subsidiaries, Ningbo Fortune Petrochemical and Yangzi River Petrochemical, had started up Oleflex PDH plants in Ningbo and Zhangjiagang, respectively, each producing 600,000 t/y of propylene.

West Virginia also stands to benefit from the trade mission, during which China Energy Investment signed a memorandum of understanding to invest nearly $84 billion in shale gas, power and chemical projects in the US state over the next 20 years. This is being touted as the first overseas investment for China Energy, recently formed through the merger of the country’s largest coal producer Shenhua Group with utilities provider China Guodian.

As reported earlier, Andrew Liveris, now executive chairman of DowDuPont, signed a memorandum of understanding with Hu Weiwei, founder and president of Mobike, to develop lightweight and environmentally friendly products for the share-scheme’s bicycles. The partners are currently developing polyurethane materials for various components as well as other specialty elastomers, adhesives and coatings.

Finally, investment bank Goldman Sachs and China Investment Corp. have pledged to set up a $5 billion cooperation fund to invest in US companies active in the manufacturing, industrial, consumer and healthcare industries that have or can develop China business connections.