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BASF and PETRONAS to build first polyisobutene plant in South East Asia

BASF and PETRONAS to build first polyisobutene plant in South East Asia
BASF and PETRONAS Chemicals Group Berhad (PCG) will build a new world-scale production plant for highly reactive polyisobutene (HR-PIB) at the site of their existing joint venture, BASF PETRONAS Chemicals Sdn Bhd, in Kuantan, Malaysia.

The plant, which will be the first of its kind in South East Asia, with a total annual capacity of 50,000 metric tons of HR-PIB, is expected to start production in the fourth quarter of 2017. HR-PIB is an important intermediate product for the manufacturing of high performance fuel and lubricant additives, including additives for sludge prevention.

"Leveraging excellence in technology will be an important factor in accelerating future profitable growth globally and especially in Asia," said Dr. Christian Fischer, President of BASF’s Performance Chemicals division. "With this investment, we are building on the solid, long-term relationship with our strategic partner PETRONAS."

BASF PETRONAS Chemicals' fully integrated Kuantan site is one of BASF’s two Verbund sites in the Asia Pacific region. According to Fischer, the joint investment with BASF’s partner PCG at the Kuantan Verbund site will further increase security of supply for HR-PIB, especially for the Asian market. The new plant will further strengthen the global footprint of BASF as the leading supplier of this product.

"The investment marks another significant milestone in the development of the Kuantan site as a leading specialty chemicals hub in the Asia Pacific region, in line with PCG’s strategy to diversify into specialty chemicals and solutions," said Datuk Sazali Hamzah, President and Chief Executive Officer of PETRONAS Chemicals Group Berhad. "It also strengthens the presence of highly advanced and forward oriented technologies and expertise in Malaysia and the region."

BASF has over seventy years of experience in the manufacturing of HR-PIB. Besides the new plant in Asia, the company operates production facilities for HR-PIB at its Verbund sites in Ludwigshafen, Germany and Antwerp, Belgium, and within a joint venture with Sinopec YPC in Nanjing, China. BASF offers the broadest range of polyisobutenes in the market with different molecular weights which are marketed by the global business unit Fuel and Lubricant Solutions under the brand names of Oppanol and Glissopal.

BASF and PCG founded their joint venture BASF PETRONAS Chemicals in 1997. BASF PETRONAS Chemicals operates an integrated complex situated at the Gebeng Industrial Zone, Kuantan, Pahang.

In addition to the proposed plant, BASF PETRONAS Chemicals is also building two plants at its Kuantan site namely an integrated aroma ingredients complex for the manufacturing of citronellol, L-menthol as well as citral and its precursors which are widely used in the flavour and fragrance industry; and a 2-ethylhexanoic acid (2-EHA) production plant for the manufacturing of 2-EHA compound for the production of synthetic lubricants as well as oil additives. It is also used for functional fluids like automotive coolants, metal salts for paint dryers, plasticizers, stabilizers, catalysts and other applications in various industries.

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