Purified EO needed for North America surfactants market - BASF

25 April 2012 16:47  [Source: ICIS news]

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (ICIS)--Additional supplies of purified ethylene oxide (EO) in North America are needed for the growing surfactants market, an executive at BASF said on Wednesday.

“Greater upcoming capacities of ethylene do not necessarily mean more ethylene oxide. EO is very tight, and very significant investments need to be made to purify EO for use in surfactants and detergents,” said Mark Miller, business director – home and personal care at Germany-based BASF.

“There will be lots of crude EO, but purified EO is another matter. There have not really been that many announcements of new purified EO capacity,” he added.

Miller spoke at the 2nd ICIS World Surfactants Conference in Jersey City, New Jersey.

It will be essential to transport EO in pipelines rather than ship the product via rail in the US because of high rail rates and liability considerations, he said.

“Having facilities focused on pipeline delivery mitigates those concerns,” Miller said.

Huntsman, a major player in the US EO sector, plans to increase capacity at its Port Neches, Texas plant by 250m lb/year (113,000 tonnes/year). The plant has an EO capacity of 460,000 tonnes/year, according to ICIS plants and projects.

The additional EO capacity will be used to produce amines and surfactants.

US EO producers include Dow, Huntsman, Old World Industries (Indorama), Shell, LyondellBasell, MEGlobal, Formosa Plastics, BASF and Eastman Chemical.

By: Joseph Chang
+1 713 525 2653

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