BASF-YPC Company Ltd, the 50:50 joint venture company between BASF and SINOPEC, have celebrated the ground breaking for their world-scale integrated petrochemical production site in Nanjing, China.

Using state-of-the-art technology, BASF-YPC will build and operate a steamcracker (600,000 metric tons ethylene per year) and nine downstream plants on the 220 hectare site on the Yangze River. With a total investment of US$2.9 billion (including utilities), BASF-YPC is currently the largest chemical Sino-German joint venture in China.

Apart from the steamcracker, the project includes the following plants: low density polyethylenes (400,000 mt/y); ethylene glycols (300,000 mt/y); acrylic acid (160,000 mt/y); acrylates (215,000 mt/y); C4 oxo alcohols (250,000 mt/y); formic acid (50,000 mt/y); propionic acid (30,000 mt/y); methylamines (30,000 mt/y); and dimethylformamide (30,000 mt/y).

The new Verbund site is expected to begin commercial operations in 2005 and will produce about 1.7 million metric tons of chemicals and polymers per year to serve the domestic market. The partners are convinced that BASF-YPC will be highly competitive in the marketplace and help boost the economic development of Eastern China, especially Jiangsu province.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Li Yizhong, chairman of SINOPEC, said: ‘I am sure this project will greatly improve the supply-demand situation of raw materials for China’s chemical industry in the coming years. It will also help to consolidate our position in the domestic chemical market, and enhance the competitiveness of SINOPEC.’

Dr Strube, chairman of BASF, added: ‘This project is visible proof of the excellent partnership between BASF and SINOPEC. The new plants to be located here will constitute BASF’s largest investment in Asia. This shows the important role China will play in our strategy. By 2010, we plan to obtain a significant proportion of sales from China.’