March's top stories: BASF starts construction of HR-PIB plant, Kemira’s production line

BASF and Petronas Chemicals Group started constructing a highly reactive polyisobutene (HR-PIB) production plant in Kuantan, Malaysia, and Kemira unveiled plans to build a new sodium chlorate production line and cell-room at its facility at Joutseno. wraps-up the key headlines from March 2016.


BASF and Petronas starts construction of HR-PIB plant in Malaysia

Global chemical company BASF and Petronas Chemicals Group started building a highly reactive polyisobutene (HR-PIB) production plant at the site of their existing joint venture, BASF Petronas Chemicals, in Kuantan, Malaysia.

Part of BASF and Petronas Chemicals' joint venture, the new plant is expected to start production in the fourth quarter of next year.

Claimed to be the first of its kind in South East Asia, the plant will have the annual capacity to produce 50,000t of HR-PIB.

Kemira to expand sodium chlorate production capacity in Joutseno, Finland

Finland-based chemical company Kemira unveiled plans to build a new sodium chlorate production line and cell-room at its facility in Joutseno.

As part of its growth strategy, the company plans to invest around €50m to €60m in the proposed expansion.

Following approval of certain regulatory requirements, construction of the planned facility is expected to begin by June this year, and the company's own technology will be used to increase the Joutseno site's existing capacity.

LABIX starts linear Alkylbenzene production in Thailand


Japan-based Mitsui and a of Thai Oil Public Company subsidiary LABIX Company started production at its linear alkylbenzene (LAB) plant located in Si Racha, Chonburi Province, Thailand.

With the plant, which has 100,000t per year capacity, Thai Oil petrochemical is claimed to have become the first integrated LAB producing company in South East Asia.

LAB is used to produce detergents as a petroleum-derived raw material, and the increasing demand for detergents and LAB in South East Asia is projected to increase as population levels rise.

Sherwin-Williams to buy Valspar for $11.3bn

Sherwin-Williams Company signed a definitive agreement to buy Valspar for $11.3bn, or $113 per share.

With the deal, Sherwin-Williams aims to improve its position in the global paints and coatings sector by creating a premier global paints and coatings company.

The deal has been approved by the boards of directors of both the companies, representing a premium of around 41% to Valspar's volume weighted average price for the 30 days up to and including 18 March this year.

Sika opens new mortars and concrete admixtures plant in Vancouver, Canada


Switzerland-based chemical company Sika opened a new mortars and concrete admixtures plant in Vancouver, Canada.

With the new plant, which is the company's fourth facility in Canada, Sika expects to serve the Pacific Northwest, a region that includes the cities of Vancouver, Seattle and Portland.

The new plant fulfils the company's continued supply chain strategy in North America by expanding production capacities in conurbations and major cities in the area.

EU proposes new rule to increase organic and waste-based fertilisers use

The European Commission (EU) proposed a new regulation that seeks easy access of organic and waste-based fertilisers to the EU single market, putting them on a level playing field with conventional, non-organic fertilisers.

The new rule aims to create fresh market areas for new companies, and help to cut waste, energy consumption and environmental damage.

The EU recently adopted a circular economy package, which also mentions the re-use of raw materials that are currently disposed of as waste, and the commission's new regulation establishes common rules on transforming bio-waste into raw materials that can be used to produce fertilising products.

Deinove collaborates with Arbiom to provide new biomass solution

France-based biotech company Deinove collaborated with Arbiom to merge their individual technologies to provide a comprehensive platform, which will include different links in the biorefinery value chain.

Biorefinery is known to be the conversion of biomass into molecules of industrial interest.

With the collaboration, both the companies seek to integrate their technologies, developed from biotechnology research, in order to develop more efficient integrated industrial processes that offer better performance and require less production costs than traditional processes.

CNOOC and Shell JV to expand petrochemical complex in China


China National Offshore Oil (CNOOC) and Shell Petrochemical Company (CSPC), a joint venture (JV) between CNOOC and Shell Nanhai (Shell), a company within the Royal Dutch Shell Group, have agreed to expand their China-based petrochemical complex for an undisclosed sum.

After signing a heads of agreement recently, both the companies have decided to expand the complex located at Huizhou, Guangdong Province, China.

CSPC expects to take over CNOOC's ongoing project to build more chemical facilities close to CSPC's petrochemical complex. However, the takeover is still subject to regulatory approvals.

Covestro partners with German universities to develop method for using CO2 as raw material

Materials manufacturer Covestro partnered with Germany's RWTH Aachen University and the Technical University of Berlin to develop a way of using carbon dioxide (CO2) as a raw material to produce elastomers on an industrial scale.

Elastomers are plastics that can hold their shape and are elastically formable at the same time.

For the Covestro project, called Production Dreams, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is providing funding up to €1.5m over the next three years.

Taiwan to invest $2.5bn in Indonesia's petrochemical industry

The Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) of the Republic of Indonesia, announced that investors from Taiwan have shown an interest in investing $2.5bn in Indonesia's petrochemical industry to manufacture ammonia and mega methanol.

The Taiwanese investors are yet to finalise a suitable location for their projects, taking into account the availability of natural gas as the raw material for petrochemical plants, according to

BKPM head Franky Sibarani said that the investors are expecting to build two factories, each on an area covering 100ha of land, in two phases.