Ludwigshafen, Germany—BASF AG announced 3 Dec that it is expanding capacity at its MDI (methylenediphenyl diisocyanate) plant in Antwerp, Belgium, from 360 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa) to 450 ktpa. The expansion—at what BASF says is the world’s largest MDI plant—will be complete in the second quarter of 2005. This new capacity will meet increasing MDI demand in Europe and help supply the growing Asian market, said BASF. “The European and global polyurethanes markets are developing even more positively than we expected. For the coming 10 years in Europe, we expect annual growth of about 5 percent,” said Reinhard Leppkes, head of the Polyurethanes Regional Business Unit Europe at BASF, in a company statememt. Europe’s MDI market—including the Middle East and Africa—has already reached 1300 ktpa, with double-digit growth in 2003 and 2004, BASF said.This is BASF’s third MDI expansion: at the beginning of 2003, it expanded the plant to 320 ktpa from 230 ktpa and then optimisation lifted the plant to 360 ktpa. BASF also operates world-scale MDI plants in Geismar, Louisiana, and Yeosu, Korea and, with Huntsman Polyurethanes and their various Chinese partners, is building a world-scale complex for MDI and TDI in Caojing, Shanghai, scheduled for completion in 2006. “
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