InterviewNPRA ’10: TPC to fully commit new capacity in 12 months

29 March 2010 17:05  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS news)--The TPC Group expects to fully commit the new capacity of a polyisobutylene (PIB) plant within 12 months, after which the company may consider incremental expansion, the CEO of the Houston company said on Monday.

The TPC group added roughly 60,000 tonnes/year capacity of PIB at its plant in Houston, said Charles Shaver, TPC Group CEO.

Shaver made his comments on the sidelines of the
International Petrochemical Conference (IPC), held by the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA).

Despite the downturn in the economy, TPC has successfully gained market share for its PIB, Shaver said. TPC makes highly reactive PIB (HRPIB), and more customers prefer the material to conventional PIB, he said.

Plus, TPC’s new capacity essentially gave the company a second independent PIB plant, Shaver said. As a result, the company could produce different grades of PIB from each plant.

The secured supply resulting from the two independent plants won TPC more business, Shaver said.

Other customers were impressed by the level of TPC’s investment, which exceeded $100m (€74m), he said.

Looking forward, PIB demand could grow as more people in developing nations are buying automobiles, he said. Shaver estimates that roughly 75% of PIB is used to produce fuel and lubricant additives.

In addition, regulations are placing greater performance requirements on engines, creating demand for lubricant additives.

If TPC successfully sells out its 60,000-tonne capacity, then the company would consider adding incremental PIB expansion in North America, Shaver said.

Longer term, the company would consider possible expansion in fast-growing markets in the world, such as the Middle East and Asia, Shaver said.

TPC is a major producer of butadiene (BD), but it also produces fuel products, lubricant additives, plastics and surfactants.

The Houston-based company in late January changed its name to TPC Group from Texas Petrochemicals, saying the new name reflected the increasing breadth and scope of its product lines and services.

Hosted by the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) the IPC continues through Tuesday.

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By: Al Greenwood
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