Sinopec, Huntsman agree to build propylene oxide, MTBE plant in Nanjing

Huntsman on Tuesday unveiled a joint venture agreement with Sinopec Jinling Co., a subsidiary of Sinopec, to build and operate a world scale propylene oxide (PO) and methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) facility in Nanjing, China.

The facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2014. It will utilize Huntsman's proprietary PO/MTBE manufacturing technology.

PO is an intermediate compound used to make polyurethane materials ranging from energy-efficient home insulation and building materials to comfort foams for automobiles and furniture. MTBE is a clean burning fuel additive that improves gasoline engine performance and reduces air pollution.

Huntsman will own 49% of the joint venture, and Sinopec will own 51%. The facility will produce 550 mm lbs/year of PO and 1.6 billion lbs/year of MTBE at a capital cost of approximately $750 million.

Other details of the joint venture were not disclosed.

"This partnership provides a tremendous opportunity for us to further our global expansion and create shareholder value," said CEO Peter Huntsman. "We are proud to partner with Sinopec, a global leader in energy, refining and chemicals."

Huntsman's polyurethanes division has world-scale production facilities in the US, the Netherlands and China, including a PO/MTBE plant in Port Neches, Texas. The company describes itself as a global leader in PO technology.

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