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Exclusive: Covestro to Build World-scale MDI Plant
Updated: 2018-07-16 15:20 Source: Chemweek share:

PUWORLD--Covestro, the third-largest producer of methylene di-para-phenylene isocyanate (MDI) by nameplate capacity, is close to announcing an investment in a world-scale plant at one of its existing locations, CW has learned. Daniel Meyer, head of polyurethanes at Covestro, tells CW that the company's board is about to approve the investment. He was speaking to CW on Thursday at a Covestro event in Cologne, Germany, that included the handover of CEO responsibilities from Patrick Thomas to Markus Steilemann.

Meyers declined to reveal the capacity or investment costs of the MDI project but CW understands that the fully integrated plant will be designed to produce 400,000 metric tons/year of MDI and cost about €1 billion ($1.2 billion). Meyer confirmed that the facility would be a brownfield project because the company is already involved in several debottleneckings at its existing facilities.

Covestro had a nameplate MDI capacity of 1.45 million metric tons/year in 2017, centered on six manufacturing sites. At Baytown, Texas, it runs a 330,000-metric tons/year MDI facility. At Tarragona, Spain, the company is adding 50,000 metric tons/year of MDI capacity that will bring the total there to 220,000 metric tons/year by 2022. In Germany, Covestro operates two MDI plants, one at Uerdingen, designed to produce 200,000 metric tons/year, focused on specialties, and the other at Brunsbüttel, where capacity is being doubled to 400,000 metric tons/year by early next year. Meanwhile, at Caojing, near Shanghai, China, the company is debottlenecking its MDI complex from 490,000 metric tons/year to 600,000 metric tons/year by 2021. Covestro is also a partner in a small MDI joint venture in Japan. Meyer forecasts MDI demand growth rates of 5.5%/year.

Separately, a recently announced chlorine plant that Covestro is to build at Tarragona will be designed to produce 130,000 metric tons/year. It will meet all of Covestro’s chlorine requirements at that site.

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