BP, SK, Sinopec plan new $1bn acetic acid, BDO complex in China

23 February 2012 03:47  [Source: ICIS news]

Chongqing in southwestern ChinaSINGAPORE (ICIS)--BP Chemicals Investment, SK Global Chemical Co, and Sinopec Sichuan Vinylon Works (Sinopec SVW) have agreed to build a yuan (CNY) 7bn ($1.11bn) integrated 1,4-butanediol (BDO) and acetic acid project in Chongquing, China, that is slated for completion in 2015, the companies said in a joint statement late on Wednesday.

The project, which would include a 600,000 tonne/year acetic acid plant, a 200,000 tonne/year 1,4-Butanediol (BDO) plant and associated facilities, is expected to consume 440 million cubic metres of natural gas per year, the companies said.

The companies have completed a feasibility study on the project that will be located at Chongqing Changshou Economic and Technological Development Zone, in the northeastern part of Chongqing city by the Yangtze River, they said.

The project, which will be completed in phases, is still pending approval from the Chinese government.

Details on the ownership structure of the project were not yet available.

The acetic acid plant will be built by Yaraco, a joint venture of BP Chemicals Investment Ltd (51%), SVW (44%) and Chongqing Energy Investment Group (CEIG) (5%). The new BDO plant, on the other hand, will be jointly built by SK and SVW.

The units in the integrated project are planned to be interdependent, with the BDO plant expected to supply acetylene off-gas to the acetic acid plant, which, in turn, will supply hydrogen to the BDO plant, the companies said.

This integrated approach is expected to optimize resources consumption and enhance the competitiveness of the complex, they said.

UK energy firm BP currently operates a 420,000 tonne/year acetic acid plant in Chongqing under Yangtze River Acetyls Company (Yaraco), its joint venture with Sinopec SVW. It also has a 500,000 tonne/year acetic acid plant in Nanjing under BP YPC Acetyls Company (Nanjing) (BYACO) – another joint venture with Sinopec.

Sinopec is China's state-owned energy and petrochemical giant, while SK Global Chemical is a major petrochemical player in South Korea.

1,4-Butanediol is an important basic raw material for the organic chemical industry and fine chemical industry, widely used in the manufacture of derivative products such as tetrahydrofuran,γ-butyrolactone, and products such as polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) and polyurethane, etc. These products have a wide range of uses in the chemical industry, medicine, textiles, machinery and daily-use chemicals.

Acetic acid is widely used in textile, pharmaceuticals and pesticide production. It is mainly used to produce vinyl acetate monomer (VAM), purified terephthalic acid (PTA), acetic anhydride and acetate esters. These derivatives are used in the production of coatings, adhesives, polyester fibers, pharmaceuticals, foods, dyes and plastics products.

($1 = CNY6.30)

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections

By: Helen Lee
+65 6780 4359

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