By Liz White, UT editor
Houston, Texas-Lyondell Chemical Company announced 20 Feb that it has gained Chinese government approval to build a propylene oxide/styrene monomer with Sinopec Zhenhai Refining & Chemical Co. Ltd (ZRCC).
The 227-kilotonnes-per-annum capacity PO facility will be built in Ningbo, China, across the Hangzhou Bay from Shanghai. Lyondell said it estimates worldwide demand for PO was about 6500 ktpa in 2006.
The partnership between Lyondell and ZRCC expects this plant to be "one of the lowest-cost PO/SM plants in the world, capitalising on Lyondell's industry-leading POSM technology, both companies' operating experience and raw materials provided by ZRCC's future olefins plant in Ningbo," said Lyondell.
"With demand for propylene oxide in China growing rapidly, this world- scale plant with its leading technology and ideal location on the eastern coast of China provides a perfect platform for Lyondell and ZRCC to serve the region," said Dan Smith, Lyondell's president and CEO.
Lyondell said it will contribute its PO/SM technology and its overall operating and technical experience in exchange for a share of the PO profitability from the plant. The parties will jointly market all of the PO manufactured by the new facility. The companies expect to complete construction in 2009.
Along with Lyondell's POSM plants near Houston and Rotterdam, the Ningbo facility will top the list of the world's largest PO/SM assets. The new plant will also have capacity for 602 ktpa styrene.
"ZRCC currently operates the largest and most efficient refinery in China, and we are pleased to be a part of a site that will soon become one of the largest integrated petrochemical complexes in the region," commented Smith. In November 2006, ZRCC broke ground on a 1 million tonne-per-year olefins complex on the site, added Lyondell.
Lyondell claims to be the world's PO technology leader with more than 40 years of experience, and said the current project enhances its presence in the region. Related activities include:
* Nihon Oxirane Co. Ltd (NOC)-In partnership with Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd, Lyondell's NOC JV makes PO, SM and propylene glycol in Asia. The venture operates a PO/SM plant in Chiba, Japan. NOC also markets the PO from Sumitomo's Chiba plant and will market the PO from Sumitomo's plant in Rabigh, Saudi Arabia, which currently is under construction.
* Propylene Glycol Ethers-Shiny Chemical Industrial Co. Ltd is constructing a propylene glycol ethers (PGE) plant in Tainan, Taiwan, based on Lyondell's technology. After start-up in Q2 2007, Lyondell will market and sell the products in Asia.
* Regional Imports - Lyondell is a leading marketer of styrene, monoethylene glycol (MEG), butanediol, glycol ethers and acetyls that are imported from other regions. "