Industry News

Bayer, Lyondell JV PO Plant Inaugurated Near Rotterdam

Published on 2004-03-19. Author : SpecialChem

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (March 19, 2004) ­ Following two years' construction, Lyondell Chemical Company (NYSE:LYO) and Bayer MaterialScience AG today officially inaugurated a world-scale propylene oxide/styrene monomer (PO/SM) manufacturing facility in Maasvlakte, near Rotterdam. The plant is one of the largest of its kind in the world. The new facility is a 50/50 joint venture between Lyondell and Bayer, and uses Lyondell's proprietary PO/SM technology, the most economical production method currently available. Approximately 250 employees are employed by the site.

"This world-scale plant, with its leading technology and ideal location near the port of Rotterdam, provides a perfect platform for the production and distribution of our products within Europe and for export to the rest of the world," said Dan Smith, Lyondell President and CEO. He noted that Lyondell is the world's leading PO producer and estimated that the plant represents roughly 5 percent of the industry's global PO capacity. It also establishes Lyondell as a significant styrene producer in Europe.

"This is a significant step for Bayer," said Dr. Tony Van Osselaer, Board Member of Bayer MaterialScience AG and responsible for Production and Technology. "Bayer MaterialScience holds a leading position in the polyurethane and ABS plastics markets. This plant gives us long-term access to key raw materials. Consequently, our customers will benefit through a secure supply."

The new plant has an annual capacity of 285,000 metric tons (625 million pounds) of PO and 635,000 metric tons (1.4 billion pounds) of styrene. Lyondell estimates that worldwide demand for PO was approximately 5.1 million metric tons (11.2 billion pounds) in 2003. Approximately 90 percent of that volume was used for the manufacture of polyols, propylene glycols (PG) and propylene glycol ethers (PGE). The remainder went into the manufacture of specialty products such as butanediol (BDO) and its derivatives.

Propylene oxide is used to make highly versatile polyurethane raw materials which, in turn, are used in the manufacture of thousands of everyday products, ranging from antifreeze to cosmetics. Polyurethanes are used to produce rigid foams for thermal insulation in the construction industry, and flexible foams for mattresses, furniture upholstery and seat cushioning in automotive applications. PO also is a basic chemical used as a building block in the production of intermediate products.

Styrene monomer is used to make a variety of plastics, from expandable foam to high-end engineering plastics. End uses of styrene include disposable food service products, packaging for electronic equipment, CD holders, paper coatings, boat hulls, and interior automotive components. In the construction industry, it is used to produce pipes, tanks and lighting fixtures. It is also commonly found in insulation and anticorrosion applications, and in the manufacture of rubber products.

About Bayer MaterialScience AG

Bayer MaterialScience AG is one of the biggest polymers producers in the world with sales of EUR 10.8 billion (2002). Its portfolio includes numerous products and innovative solutions for customers throughout the world. Bayer MaterialScience is a market leader in its core sectors: it is the number one in polyurethane raw materials, synthetic rubbers and isocyanate coatings, while also holding a leading position in polycarbonates, styrenics and thermoplastic polyurethanes. It employs approximately 23,000 people at 120 sites worldwide.

About Lyondell Chemical Company

Lyondell Chemical Company, (www.lyondell.com ), headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a leading producer of: propylene oxide (PO); PO derivatives, including toluene diisocyanate (TDI), propylene glycol (PG), butanediol (BDO) and propylene glycol ether (PGE); and styrene monomer and MTBE as co-products of PO production. Through its 70.5% interest in Equistar Chemicals, LP, Lyondell also is one of the largest producers of ethylene, propylene and polyethylene in North America and a leading producer of ethylene oxide, ethylene glycol, high value-added specialty polymers and polymeric powder. Through its 58.75% interest in LYONDELL-CITGO Refining LP, Lyondell is one of the largest refiners in the United States processing extra heavy Venezuelan crude oil to produce gasoline, low sulfur diesel and jet fuel.

Source: Lyondell Chemical Co.

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