Malaysia: Engineering Petronas Chemicals, LG Chem to Build New NBL Manufacturing Unit

Editor: Ahlam Rais

Located in Johor, Malaysia, the new plant is expected to have an annual Nitrile Butadiene Latex (NBL) production capacity of 200,000 tonnes. The move is aimed at enhancing the country’s position as the world’s largest exporter of gloves.

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Construction of the NBL plant will begin in 2021 while production is scheduled to start in 2023.
Construction of the NBL plant will begin in 2021 while production is scheduled to start in 2023.
(Source: Deposit Photos)

Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia – Petronas Chemicals Group Berhad (PCG) and LG Chem have recently inked an agreement to build a Nitrile Butadiene Latex (NBL) manufacturing plant at Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC) in Johor to target the growing nitrile glove market, further strengthening Malaysia’s position as the largest exporter of gloves globally.

Construction of the plant will begin in 2021 while production is scheduled to start in 2023. When completed, the plant will have an annual NBL production capacity of 200,000 tonnes.

This strategic partnership is timely as it occurs at a period where the demand for nitrile glove is growing rapidly. The partnership leverages both companies’ strengths to bring greater value to the market. In addition, the collaboration will create new revenue streams and unlock new markets by optimising resources in both companies. At the same time, PCG and LG Chem will work together to offer various grades and new applications of NBL as well as develop high-value added products through continuous Research & Development (R&D) and investments.

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Commenting on the partnership, PCG Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer Datuk Sazali Hamzah said, “We are excited about this partnership. It marks a strategic step in developing PCG’s specialty chemicals portfolio, underpinning PCG’s position as a leading integrated chemicals producer in Malaysia. It provides a compelling entry point into the growing NBL-based products and enables PCG to enhance its presence in attractive end-markets, especially for personal care and healthcare, mainly in the Asia Pacific region.”

“This collaboration further strengthens the pursuit of our growth agenda, having acquired a silicone player last year. With more specialty chemicals in our portfolio, we are moving into segments with higher growth potential,” added Datuk Sazali.

NBL is a synthetic rubber that uses butadiene as the main feedstock and is a core raw material for making nitrile gloves, which is widely used in industries such as healthcare, medical, and food, among others. It is currently widely used to complement existing natural rubber gloves due to its excellent intensity and chemical-resistance features. Recently, the use of nitrile gloves has seen rapid growth in helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and other infections. The rising demand of nitrile gloves is at an annual average of more than 10 % and is expected to account for 70 % of the entire latex gloves market in 2024.