MALAYSIA: Petronas and BASF to start feasibility study on polymers plant

Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and BASF SE will conduct a feasibility study on a new super-absorbent polymers plant in Malaysia.

The companies said in a statement they had also decided to expand the production capacities of acrylic acid and n-butanol of their joint-venture company - BASF Petronas Chemicals Sdn Bhd.

The joint venture company currently operates an integrated complex at the Gebeng Industrial Zone in Pahang.

The JV company is 60% held by BASF and 40% by Petronas with a total investment of about RM3.4 billion.

Dr Martin Brudermüller, who is an executive director of BASF, said: "BASF Petronas Chemicals plays an important role in achieving our Asia-Pacific strategy for 2020. With this investment in high-growth specialty chemicals, we will position ourselves to serve our customers in Asia better.”

Meanwhile, Petronas executive vice-president of downstream business Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said the future of petrochemical industry would be shaped by changes in global mega-trends such as growing health awareness.

This would result in strong demand for specialty chemicals including super absorbent polymer for personal hygiene applications, he said.

He said the success of the joint venture had provided both companies the confidence to explore further collaboration in higher value-added portfolio.

This will also make Petronas a key petrochemical player in the region.(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)