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Plant Engineering: Butadiene Extraction BASF Builds Butadiene Extraction at Antwerp/Belgium

| Editor: Dominik Stephan

Chemical giant BASF announced plans to build a new butadiene extraction plant at its production site in Antwerp, Belgium. With a planned annual production capacity of 155,000 metric tons, the plant would be bigger than the company's existing butadiene extraction at Ludwigshafen, Germany.

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BASF's Antwerp site is the company's second largest site and BASF's maritime bridgehead in Europe.
BASF's Antwerp site is the company's second largest site and BASF's maritime bridgehead in Europe.
(Picture: BASF )

A startup for the new plant ius scheduled for 2014, company speakers explained. Investment amount is expected to be in the high double-digit million euro range. The decision to build a new butadiene extraction line at Antwerp was made in light of the increasingly tight supplies of this substance on global markets, BASF speakers say. In recent years, the volumes of butadiene available on the market have declined sharply. At the same time, demand from the tire industry and other industries has been rising. This has led to a considerable increase in prices.

New Plant Takes Advantage of Butadiene Market Potentials

“With the plant, we will secure our supply of butadiene at a competitive cost,” said Dr. Uwe Kirchgäßner, head of BASF’s regional business unit Basic Petrochemicals Europe. “Furthermore, we will take advantage of opportunities on the attractive external market and thereby contribute to our long-term economic success,” Kirchgäßner added.

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The butadiene will be extracted from crude C4, a product from the on–site steam cracker. “This plant strengthens our Verbund production in Antwerp and is a very important investment at the site,” said Wouter de Geest, CEO of BASF Antwerpen NV. “By improving the integration of the C4 value chain, we will also be able to reduce the need for logistics as well as traffic,” added de Geest. Through the investment about 15 to 20 jobs will be created.

Butadiene: Feedstock for Rubbers and Tires

In Europe, BASF already operates a butadiene extraction plant at its Verbund site in Ludwigshafen, Germany, with an annual production capacity of 105,000 metric tons. Butadiene is a raw material that can be used to produce synthetic rubber, among other applications. The tire industry is one of the main consumers of butadiene. Other applications for butadiene include paper chemicals and plastics production. BASF's site at Antwerp exports a good share of its products to Aisa, as feright rates on cargo ships returning to China with empty holds are considerably cheap. Take a closer look at Antwerp harbour in our gallery 'Maritime Transport'!

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