BASF's new DOTP plasticizers plant to keep US market competitive

18 July 2017 23:46 Source:ICIS News

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HOUSTON (ICIS)--Dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP) production from BASF’s new plasticizers plant along US Gulf is expected to improve supply and increase competition in the US market place, sources said.

The Germany-headquartered producer announced on Tuesday that it has started up the new DOTP plant at its Pasadena site in Texas, which has a nameplate capacity of 60,000 tonnes/year.

“The new capacities provide increased potential for BASF in the non-ortho-phthalate plasticizers market,” said Heather Remley, senior vice president, petrochemicals North America. “Production at our Pasadena facility reinforces BASF as a valued supplier and reliable partner for plasticizers in North America.”

Market participants said that BASF is making another change in its company strategy.

“A few years ago, they put their eggs in the DPHP [di-2-propylheptyl phthalate] basket and bombed,” a source said. “So now they address this by changing production to DOTP to recognize the move away from ortho-phthalates (DINP) and give Eastman some competition.”

BASF said the new DOTP production will expand its product offerings to the market.

“By adding DOTP to our current range of plasticizers in North America, the BASF plasticizer portfolio will be better positioned to meet our customers' current and future plasticizer needs,” said Leslie Thompson, communications manager at BASF.

Last month, BASF started production at an oxo-alcohol unit for 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) at its Pasadena site, with a nameplate capacity of 100,000 tonnes/year.

Although the 2-EH production is new, the unit is not. The project is a conversion of 2-propylheptanol (2-PH) production at the site to 2-EH production.

BASF said on Tuesday that the 2-EH plant secures consistent raw material integration for its DOTP.

Supply and demand for plasticizers in the US market has been steadier this week due to lessening effects of European force majeure(s).

Plasticizers are additives that increase the plasticity or fluidity of the material to which they are added. Globally, about 96% of plasticizers are consumed in flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC) applications, including cables, PVC films, roofing, flooring and wall covering. In the US, 80-90% of plasticizers are used in PVC applications.

Among the major uses for 2-EH are as a feedstock for chemicals used in the production of paint, automobiles, adhesives and plasticizers, and in building and construction markets.

Major US plasticizer producers include BASF, Eastman Chemical and ExxonMobil. Major US 2-EH producers include BASF, Eastman Chemical and Dow Chemical.

Pictured above: Dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP) plasticizers are additives that increase the plasticity or fluidity of the material to which they are added, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

By Robbie Wilcox