APLA '10: Rhodia seeks opportunities to expand solvents

07 November 2010 19:57  [Source: ICIS news]

RIO DE JANEIRO (ICIS)--Rhodia is seeking opportunities to expand its global oxygenated solvents production, the president of the company’s Coatis business said on Sunday.

France-based Rhodia is seeking further oxygenated solvents partnerships following the conclusion of an ethyl acetate (etac) agreement with Sipchem (Saudi International Petrochemical) earlier this year, said Vincent Kamel, president of the newly created oxygenated solvents and phenol-based products business.

“We are working on the possibility of expanding our capacity for solvents,” he told ICIS in a telephone interview at the Latin American Petrochemical Association (APLA) annual meeting.

Kamel declined to specify where Rhodia would like to locate the production. “We are in the phase where we are looking,” he said.

Potential opportunities include the formation of joint ventures or technical partnerships, he suggested.

Rhodia will also debottleneck its existing solvents production in line with demand, he said.

The company is a global producer of oxygenated solvents, with its main presence in Paulinia, Sao Paulo, southeast Brazil. It also has production in France and Asia, and would gain production in Saudi Arabia through the Sipchem agreement.

Under the agreement with Sipchem, Rhodia would provide the technology and market most of the output from a new 100,000 tonne/year etac plant.

Kamel also dismissed suggestions that Rhodia was interested in becoming an ethanol producer. “We have no plans to integrate ourselves in ethanol,” he stated. The company relies on long-term ethanol contracts, he added.

Ethanol, sourced in Brazil, is a key raw material for Rhodia’s oxygenated solvents production. The company is the largest purchaser of Brazilian ethanol for non-carburant usage, Kamel noted.

Rhodia has also developed a new generation of bio-solvents, branded Augeo, which are based on glycerol. Glycerol is a bi-product of biodiesel production.

The APLA conference runs through Tuesday.

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By: Anna Jagger
+44 20 8652 3214

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