(EnergyAsia, February 24 2012, Friday) — German chemicals giant BASF and China’s Sinopec have started work on expanding their joint venture petrochemical plant in Nanjing city after completing its second phase expansion at a cost of US$1.4 billion.

The second phase, inaugurated last month, includes expansions of existing plants and construction of new facilities.

The partners expanded the steam cracker’s ethylene capacity to 740,000 metric tons per year (mt/y), the ethylene oxide (EO) plant to 330,000 mt/y, and the oxo-C4 capacity to 305,000 mt/y.

They also built a new 150,000 mt/y EO purification unit, a 60,000 mt/y non-ionic surfactants plant; a 130,000 mt/y amines complex to produce ethanolamines, ethyleneamines, and dimethylethanolamine, and a 25,000 mt/y DMA3 plant.

The site now has an integrated C4 complex comprising a new 130,000 mt/y butadiene extraction plant, a 60,000 mt/y isobutene extraction plant, a 50,000 mt/y highly reactive polyisobutene plant, and a 80,000 mt/y 2-propyl-heptanol plant.

The partners expects to start complete the construction of a 60,000 mt/y superabsorbent polymer (SAP) plant by mid-2012, with commercial start-up due for early 2014.

They will be strengthening the plant’s C3 and C4 value chains with the construction of a 160,000 mt/y acrylic acid plant and a butyl acrylate plant, and expansion of the existing 2-propyl-heptanol plant.

Martin Brudermüller, BASF’s vice chairman with responsibility for the Asia Pacific region, said:

“Through this successful partnership, we are able to bring vital chemical products and solutions to China that will directly support local industries as they strive to meet the needs of a rapidly developing population.

“At the same time we are also investing in advanced production technologies that themselves use less water, save energy and reduce emissions. The Nanjing site is a flagship example of our Verbund system, which achieves extremely efficient production and safety by clustering plants and re-using by-products.”

Dai Houliang, a Sinopec board member and vice president, said:

“With the smooth completion of the second phase of Nanjing investment, BASF-YPC has once again set an excellent example of Sinopec’s international partnerships and paved ways for further prosperous developments between BASF and Sinopec. We are confident BASF-YPC will continue expanding its product portfolio and providing crucial chemicals to the growing demands in China while contributing to a sustainable future.”

In December 2010, BASF and Sinopec signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore the expansion of BASF-YPC at a cost of U$1 billion.