The first production facilities in the $1.4 billion expansion of BASF-YPC Company Limited have now begun operations.

Along with the successful completion of the steam cracker expansion, the newly constructed butadiene extraction plant and the non-ionic surfactants plant are now operational.

"With this expansion, we are now beginning to realize the true potential of BASF-YPC as a 'Verbund' site – a German term referring to a highly-integrated, highly energy-efficient production complex. At the same time, the chemicals produced here contribute directly to supporting China's energy efficiency goals as outlined in the 12th Five Year Plan," said Dr. Bernd Blumenberg, president, BASF-YPC Co.  Ltd. 

These plants are part of a $1.4 billion investment project which broke ground in September 2009. The project includes the expansion of the existing steam cracker, from 600,000 tons/year to 740,000 tons/year of ethylene, the expansion of three existing plants, and the construction of  10new plants. The products of this second phase will serve multiple industries such as agriculture, construction, electronics, pharmaceutical, automotive and chemical manufacturing.

The bulk of the remaining plants are expected to come on-stream around the end of 2011.

The butadiene extraction plant, which extracts butadiene from the C4 cracker stream, is a core facility in the integrated C4 complex. Butadiene, an important intermediate, is used as a monomer in producing elastomers and thermo­plastics, such as synthetic rubbers, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene copolymer and polyamide.

The non-ionic surfactants plant is part of an integrated ethylene oxide derivatives value chain which will also include a new amines complex. Non-ionic surfactants can be used for detergents and cleaners as well as in formulation technologies for various industries. The new plant will serve a variety of industries, from home and personal care to textiles and construction.

Also, a superabsorbent polymers (SAP) plant will be constructed as part of the ongoing expansion project.

BASF and SINOPEC also signed a Memorandum of Understanding in December 2010 to jointly explore the further expansion of BASF-YPC. The new projects under consideration will extend the C3 and C4 value chains, including the construction of a new acrylic acid facility with a capacity of 160,000 tons per year, a new butyl acrylate plant, as well as capacity increases at the 2-propyl-heptanol, styrene monomer, and non-ionic surfactants plants. A new world-scale hydrogen peroxide / propylene oxide (HPPO) facility is also included in the new investments under consideration. The new investments under consideration collectively total approximately $1 billion.