27 September 2002 04:28 [Source: ICIS news]
The Euro500m ($504.5m) plant has a PO capacity of 250 000 tonne/year and an SM capacity of 550 000 tonne/year. Although the plant came onstream in July 2002, it was taken out of operation in the third week of June during the testing phase to address some emerging technical problems.
Both companies said earlier they expected a gradual ramp up of capacity from a production level of around 50% in July to 100% capacity within one year. This estimate was based on the experience of the joint venture's Ellba 1 plant at Moerdijk, The Netherlands, which opened in Q3 1999, they said.
The plant's output will be marketed independently by the two shareholders into their respective businesses and markets, with BASF saying it will be consumed mainly for captive use in its styrenics and polyurethane businesses.
Recently, SMPO plants have come under some scrutiny thanks to the development of the new PO-only plants.
John King, managing director Nexant/ChemSystem Asia, had earlier told CNI there was clear evidence that major industry players were favouring the PO-only route.
In Asia, Sumitomo Chemical planned to bring onstream a 200 000 tonne/year PO plant in Chiba, Japan, by Q1-2003.
Elsewhere, BASF and Solvay formed in May 2002 a 50:50 joint venture to build a 250 000 tonne/year PO plant for startup in 2007. The BASF-Solvay PO plant is based on hydrogen peroxide feedstock as opposed to Sumitomo's cumene feedstock. However, the location of the plant has not yet been revealed.
Dow and Degussa/Krupps Uhde have also developed PO processes through direct oxidation of propylene with hydrogen peroxide.
In addition, BASF and Dow teamed up in August 2002 to develop and commercialise a hydrogen peroxide based PO process. The two companies are planning to build a worldscale plant by 2006.
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