The Woodlands, Texas - Huntsman Corp. is to make a combined investment of $135 million at two of its MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) manufacturing facilities.
The company said it will increase capacity at its Geismar, Louisiana site and upgrade its downstream specialties production capability at its Rotterdam, the Netherlands site.
Capacity at Geismar will be upped by 50 kilotonnes to 500 kt per year using "improved process technology". The expansion, which is due to come on stream in 2014, will enable the company to benefit from the "significant advantages" of the site with its access to US shale gas and integration capabilities, as well as support the growth of its key customers, Huntsman said in a 21 March news release.
"The benefits of US shale gas have significantly improved the economics of investing in US facilities and Huntsman has a number of other investments planned which will take advantage of lower cost natural gas," commented Anthony Hankins, president of Huntsman Polyurethanes.
At Rotterdam, Huntsman is commissioning a new MDI splitter and downstream specialities manufacturing unit, which it says will enable it to serve customers with a "full range of next-generation, differentiated polyurethane products" for markets including automotive, coatings and adhesives. The company added that the unit is designed to handle globally sourced MDI precursors and will be operational by the end of March.
In addition to its Geismar and Rotterdam sites, Huntsman Polyurethanes operates a third worldscale MDI facility in Caojing, near Shanghai, China.