InterviewGuangzhou surfactant plant in China to start up in Q2 2011

07 October 2010 21:19  [Source: ICIS news]

By Doris de Guzman

MONTREUX, Switzerland (ICIS)--China-based Guangzhou Keylink Chemical will start producing methyl ester sulphonates surfactant at a new 40,000 tonne/year plant in Guangzhou in the 2011 second quarter, an official from US engineering firm Chemithon said on Thursday.

The surfactant facility was originally scheduled to come online late this year, but permit delays and changes in Guangzhou Keylink ownership last year prevented its start up, said Michael Shea, Chemithon regional sales manager for Asia Pacific and Europe.

Shea spoke on the sidelines of the World Detergents Conference in Montreux, which ends on Thursday.

“The Chinese federal, state and city government delayed the permit of a nearby refinery in Guangzhou last year because of environmental concerns. This delay affected all facilities within the area. The Olympic Games in China prolonged the permit delay as well,” said Shea.

Guangzhou Keylink was originally a joint venture between Germany’s Cognis Oleochemicals, Malaysian palm plantation owner Sime Darby and Chinese detergent producer Guangzhou Lonkey Industrial.

Cognis Oleochemicals, now Emery Oleochemicals, became a 50-50 venture between Sime Darby and Thailand-based PTT Chemicals last year.

Shea said the Guangzhou plant would use Malaysian palm stearin from Emery Oleochemicals.

Most of the product will be consumed in China either as feedstock for Lonkey’s detergent products or for commercial sale.

The price is expected to be competitive with surfactants such as fatty alcohols or linear alkylbenzene sulphonates (LAS), Shea said.

Chemithon constructed its first US surfactant facility near Houston. The plant is currently owned by the largest private label detergent manufacturer in the region, Sun Products, formerly Huish Detergents.

The 82,000 tonne/year Houston plant started operations in 2001. The company sells its product in formulated powder and liquid detergents.

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By: Doris de Guzman
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