Ludwigshafen, Germany - BASF SE may re-assess the timing of its planned 400-kilotonnes-per-annum unit to make MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) in Chongqing in the west of China. The German chemicals giant has effectively gained environmental approval for the project from the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection in January, a BASF spokesperson indicated, 16 March.
"We have been made aware that the approval of our Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) application, one of the necessary project applications, is progressing smoothly and was accepted in principle by the Ministry of Environmental Protection in January," the spokesperson added.
"This is one step in the overall process." The next step is approval by the NDRC (the National Development and Reform Commission, China's central planning authority, the company said.
BASF met with the Beijing and Chongqing authorities during the second week of February to review the status of the project. "We are absolutely committed to the project," the spokesperson said, but, "together with the Chongqing authorities, we are assessing the current MDI market situation," he added.
As to timing, BASF originally aimed to complete the plant in 2010, but the supplier of polyurethane raw materials now expects the global MDI market to decline in 2009, with "China being no exception," its spokesperson said. "This new situation needs to be reflected in the planning process for our MDI project in Chongqing."
"At this point, the timing of the project is certainly under consideration although it is too early to give specifics," the spokesperson concluded.