EPCA ‘07: BP Acetyls aims to be market leader

30 September 2007 17:16  [Source: ICIS news]

By Florence Tan


BP acetyls aims to be market leaderBERLIN (ICIS news)--BP Acetyls, one of the largest acetic acid producer globally, plans to regain its status as the top market leader by expanding aggressively in Asia, a senior company official said on Sunday.


The company has embarked on two new projects in China and India and plans to debottleneck its plants in the UK and the US, Guy Moeyens, chief executive of the global acetyls business told ICIS news on the sidelines of the European Petrochemical Conference (EPCA).


“We are very committed to acetyls and are going to invest quite heavily in the future. The majority of investment is in Asia – China and India,” he added.


BP planned to build a 650,000 tonne/year unit each in China and India to start up in 2010. It has also planned to debottleneck its plant in Hull, UK, and was also considering expanding its 500,000 tonne/year plant in the US by 10%.


“Acetic anhydride will still grow in Europe and globally. We will look at it on a case by case basis,” he added. The company has planned to increase its acetic anhydride capacity in Hull.


BP Acetyls was also continuing to achieve cost efficiency by improving its technology and having access to cheap feedstocks, Moeyens said.


It has improved its Cativa technology which will be used for the new plants in Asia, he added. The company was also carrying out in-depth research on a new technology which will be used beyond 2010, he said.


The company’s strategy to build smaller but still economical units of capacity 650,000 tonne/year capacities has also paid off as the recent hiccups in larger units has upset the supply demand balance.


“We would rather build one more (acetic acid plant),” Moeyens said.


Going by the tagline “global acetic acid partner of choice”, BP is keen to become the market leader again.


“We want to continue to be a safe, reliable and sustainable partner and will not compete with our customers,” Moeyens said, adding that the company was on track to divest its ethyl acetate (ETAC) and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) plants in Hull.


Moeyen, who has been based in Shanghai since July when the company’s acetyls headquarters was moved from the UK, said there would be more Asians in key positions.


“We want to run the global business from Asia,” he added.

By: Florence Tan
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