UpdateBASF to build butadiene extraction plant at Antwerp, Belgium

04 July 2012 13:15  [Source: ICIS news]

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BASF headquarters in LudwigshafenLONDON (ICIS)--BASF plans to build a 155,000 tonne/year butadiene extraction plant at its site in Antwerp, Belgium, which is expected to start operations in 2014, the German chemical major said on Wednesday.

Although exact financial details were not disclosed, BASF said the investment amount will be in the “high double-digit million euro range”. A separate company source said start-up would be in the second or third quarter of 2014.

BASF said the decision was made in light of the increasingly tight supplies of butadiene on global markets.

It added that at the same time demand from the tyre industry and other industries has been rising and this has led to a sharp increase in prices.

“With the plant, we will secure our supply of butadiene at a competitive cost,” said Uwe Kirchgassner, head of BASF’s regional business unit Basic Petrochemicals Europe.

“Furthermore, we will take advantage of opportunities on the attractive external market and thereby contribute to our long-term economic success,” Kirchgassner added.

BASF said the butadiene will be extracted from crude C4, a product from the steam cracker.

“This plant strengthens our Verbund production in Antwerp and is a very important investment at the site,” said Wouter de Geest, CEO of BASF Antwerpen NV.

BASF's Verbund sites have interlinked production facilities. Around 15 to 20 jobs will be created through the investment, it said.

“By improving the integration of the C4 value chain, we will also be able to reduce the need for logistics as well as traffic,” added de Geest. 

The new unit will move BASF into fifth position in terms of European butadiene production capacity, behind INEOS, LyondellBasell Versalis and Dow Chemical. It is currently the 10th largest producer in Europe, according to ICIS data.

"We will turn from a net consumer to a net seller big enough to take part in the [contract] settlement process," the company source said.

Earlier this year, LyondellBasell said it would expand butadiene capacity at its extraction unit in Wesseling, Germany, by 40% to 238,000 tonnes/year. This is due to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Nel Weddle contributed to this story

By: Leigh Stringer
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