21 July 2004 16:46 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--German chemicals giant BASF confirmed on Wednesday that it is expanding the capacity of its Oppanol medium molecular weight polyisobutene (PIB) facilities at Ludwigshafen by at least 20%.
Work on expanding the current Oppanol capacity of around 10 000 tonne/year began 18 months ago and is due for completion by the end of this year, a spokeswoman for BASF told CNI.
BASF, which is the world's leading producer of low, medium and high molecular weight PIB with a total capacity of 100 000 tonne/year, declined to quantify the capital investment being made to expand Oppanol output. However, it said in a statement today that further investment in Oppanol is planned, and more efficient technologies for making this range of products are being developed.
Expansion of Oppanol capacity reflects increasing demand for PIB, which has many different applications, ranging from fuel and lubricant additives, industrial lubricants, two-stroke engine fuel, adhesives, sealants, plastics and chewing gum.
The BASF spokeswoman told CNI that the world market for medium and high molecular weight PIB is about 31 000 tonne and is growing at the rate of about 4% annually.
BASF's PIB capacity, which is running at full capacity, is divided between Ludwigshafen and Antwerp in Belgium. There are three plants at Ludwigshafen, all able to produce low, medium and high molecular weight products. The Antwerp plant is able to produce only low molecular weight PIB, which is marketed under the name Glissopal.
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