LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany (Dec. 19) — BASF A.G. is expanding annual capacity for methylene diphenyl diisocyanate at its plant in Antwerp, Belgium, by 110,000 metric tons and disclosed it is considering building a second MDI plant in China.
The expansion, due to be completed in the second quarter of 2007, will make the plant "the largest of its type in the world," BASF said. The increased capacity at the two-train plant will lift MDI capacity at Antwerp to 560,000 tons per year.
BASF also plans to construct two plants at the site for the MDI precursors aniline and mono-nitrobenzene, scheduled to start operations simultaneously with the MDI expansion.
"We expect global demand for MDI to increase and are therefore expanding our Antwerp plant to create the capacity needed to meet this strong growth," said Uwe Hartwig, head of the European regional business unit in BASF´s Polyurethanes division.
Antwerp, BASF´s only European MDI, serves customers in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.; its other MDI plants are in Geismar, La.; Keosu, Korea; and Caojing, China.
A second plant in China, if the project is approved, would start production 2010.
BASF added that it expects forthcoming global demand growth for MDI averaging more than 6 percent, "with particularly strong growth in Asia."