17 January 2012 13:54 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--BASF will invest about €1.0bn ($1.3bn) to build a 300,000 tonne/year single-train toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) plant and new TDI precursor capacities at its main Ludwigshafen site in Germany, the chemicals major said on Tuesday.
Production from the new unit is expected to start at the end of 2014, when the company intends to close its 80,000 tonne/year TDI plant at Schwarzheide, also in Germany.
The overall investment includes the construction of a new hydrogen chloride recycling plant and expansion of existing facilities for nitric acid, chlorine and synthesis gas.
BASF had considered its “Verbund” site at Antwerp, Belgium, as another possible location for the plant, which will be the world's largest, single-train TDI production facility. Verbund describes the integrated structures BASF aims to achieve within its production and other operations.
“This project will position us as the low-cost TDI producer in Europe due to economies of scale and the highly efficient integration into our Verbund,” said Wayne Smith, president of BASF Polyurethanes.
“Building our new TDI plant at our largest Verbund site in Ludwigshafen gives us the advantage of excellent production synergies, raw material integration and logistics. Together with our existing TDI sites in Asia and North America, we will be able to optimally serve customers in all major markets.”
The investments at Ludwigshafen will support further growth in BASF value chains other than TDI, BASF said, without giving further details.
The company currently operates TDI plants in: Geismar, Louisiana, in the US; Yeosu, South Korea; Caojing, China; and Schwarzheide, Germany.
TDI is the main component of the flexible polyurethane foams used in the automotive and furniture industries.
BASF produces MDI (methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate) for use in rigid polyurethane foams and propylene oxide, also a polyurethanes precursor chemical, in Antwerp.
BASF said it will develop the Schwarzheide site structure to put more focus on specialties.
($1 = 0.79)
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