BASF-YPC Integrated Petrochemical Complex, Nanjing, China

BASF-YPC was established in 2000 as a 50:50 joint venture

During September 2005, BASF-YPC inaugurated its $2.9bn joint venture petrochemical production complex located in the Luhe district of Nanjing, China. The complex is centred around a cracker producing 600,000tpa of ethylene.

"BASF-YPC was established in 2000 as a 50:50 joint venture between Germany's BASF and China's Sinopec subsidiary, YPC."

The nine downstream process plants of the integrated petrochemical site (IPS) are low density polyethylene (ldPE), ethylene glycol (EG), acrylic acid and esters, oxo-alcohols, formic acid, methylamine, propionic acid and dimethyl formamide (DMF).

All the plants utilise the BASF Verbund concept for optimal efficiency and lower environmental impact. Total production capacity at the site is 1.7mtpa.

Three international ports support the logistics. In September 2009, BASF-YPC broke ground on a $1.4bn expansion project, called IPS II. The IPS II project is aimed at producing speciality chemicals and downstream chemical intermediates for the Chinese market.

The butadiene extraction plant and the non-ionic surfactants plant of the expansion project came on-stream in October 2010. The IPS II project was completed in January 2012.

BASF-YPC was established in 2000 as a 50:50 joint venture between Germany's BASF and China's Sinopec subsidiary, YPC. The original letter of intent to establish the project was signed in 1996.

BASF-YPC integrated petrochemical complex feedstock

During 2000, China's Jinling Petrochemical said it was to supply 90% of the naphtha feedstock for the cracker that would produce 600,000tpa of ethylene. Jinling Petrochemical has a refinery some five kilometres from the BASF-YPC complex.

US-based Fluor Daniel was awarded the BASF-YPC project management contract in 2001. The value of the contract was not disclosed. The contract included the design, procurement and management of the project.

The contract for the cracker was won by the US-based Shaw Group. Under the terms of the contract, Shaw's subsidiary Stone & Webster was responsible for the engineering, procurement and construction services of the cracker.

Tractebel Gas Engineering (TGE) was awarded the contract to supply five cracker storage tanks for the BASF-YPC petrochemical complex.

TGE had claimed the nickel / steel tanks were the first horizontal cylindrical storage tanks for ethylene in China. The scope of the contract included delivery of equipment and material, and the supervision of construction, commissioning and performance testing.

Low density polyethylene (ldPE) contract

SembCorp-Simon Carves of the UK and Taiwan's CTCI were awarded the contract to supply the 400,000tpa ldPE plant. The plant was said to be the largest of its kind in China. The cost of the facility was $200m.

Japan's JGC Corporation was awarded the contract to supply the 250,000tpa EO / 300,000tpa MEG plants for the complex. The contract, which was announced in October 2002, was awarded on a lumpsum turnkey basis.

The contract included detailed design, equipment and material procurement, construction and test run supervision of the plants. JGC cooperated with China's Sinopec Engineering to develop the plant.

EO production plant reactors and C1 complex

Reactors for the EO production plant were supplied by Larsen & Toubro's Heavy Engineering Division.

"All the plants utilise the BASF Verbund concept for optimal efficiency and lower environmental impact."

During the middle of 2002, Japan's Toyo Engineering Corporation (TEC) was awarded a contract to supply plants producing 160,000tpa of acrylic acid, 215,000tpa of acrylic acid ester and 250,000tpa of C4 oxo-alcohol.

The plants are based on BASF technology. The contract was awarded on a lumpsum turnkey basis.

At the start of 2003, the contract for the C1 complex was awarded to a consortium of Spain's Tecnicas Reunidas and Taiwan's CTCI Corporation. The C1 complex is made up of 50,000tpa formic acid, 30,000tpa propionic acid, 40,000tpa dimethylformaldehyde and 36,000tpa methylamine.

Tecnicas Reunidas and CTCI awarded Man Turbo a contract to supply a screw compressor for the C1 complex. The contract was awarded during the first half of 2003.

During the second quarter of 2002, France-based Technip-Coflexip was awarded a contract by BASF-YPC to provide a syngas facility. The facility produces oxo-syngas, carbon monoxide and hydrogen, with steam as a by-product. Products from this plant are used for feedstock in the various downstream plants.

China's Shanghai Steel Structure and Piping Prefabrication Company supplied the steel structure fabrication and construction for the syngas plant.

Thermal power plant and heat recovery steam generation

South Korea's Daelim Industrial was awarded the $130m contract to supply a thermal power plant for the petrochemical complex. The plant has a power generation capacity of 180MW. The contract was awarded during the first quarter of 2002.

Korea's DKME was awarded the contract to supply a heat recovery steam generation system. The contract was awarded by Daelim.

During November 2003, Emerson Process Management announced it was awarded a contract for the automation of the complex. Emerson's Plantweb architecture and an automation system was installed.

As well as providing system integration, engineering and project management services for automation of the complex, the company also provided training and maintenance services.

During the second half of 2002, BASF-YPC awarded Siemens the 'main electrical vendor umbrella agreement'. Under the terms of the agreement, Siemens provided all project plants and utilities with a full range of power products, systems and services.

UK-based company Smith Flow Control, which specialises in mechanical valve control equipment, was contracted by Toyo Engineering to supply equipment for the acetic acid and acrylic acid ester plants. The contract value was not disclosed.

JGC awarded UK company Booth Industries a contract to supply 'high integrity products' to protect control room and administration buildings at the BASF-YPC complex. The contract award was announced in June 2003.

BASF-YPC petrochemical complex expansion plans

During the September 2005 inauguration ceremony BASF-YPC announced that, due to the successful and smooth start up of its joint venture complex, the company would invest in additional downstream plants and in the expansion of ethylene production unit.

"The complex plays an important role in enhancing the international competitiveness of China's petrochemical industry."

The IPS II project included the expansion of existing facilities and construction of new plants. The existing stream cracker was upgraded to increase its capacity to with 740,000mtpa. The capacity of the ethylene oxide (EO) plant was increased to 330,000mtpa and the oxo-C4 plant capacity was expanded to 305,000mtpa.

New plants constructed include EO purification unit (150,000mtpa), non-ionic surfactants plant (60,000mtpa), a DMA3 plant (25,000mtpa) and an amines complex to produce 130,000mtpa of ethanolamines, ethyleneamines and dimethylethanolamine.

An integrated C4 complex was also constructed as part of IPS II. It includes several new facilities such as 2-propylheptanol plant with 80,000mtpa, a highly reactive polyisobutene plant with 50,000mtpa, a butadiene extraction plant with 130,000mtpa and an isobutene extraction plant with 60,000mtpa.

In December 2010, BASF and SINOPEC signed an agreement to further expand the facility with an investment of $1bn. The new investment includes the construction of a new 160,000tpa acrylic acid facility, a new butyl acrylate plant and a hydrogen peroxide / propylene oxide (HPPO) facility and increasing the capacity of 2-propyl-heptanol plant.

The project also includes capacity expansion at the 2-propyl-heptanol, styrene monomer and non-ionic surfactants plants. It will enable BASF-YPC to meet the growing demand for specialty chemicals in China.

Construction of a new super-absorbent polymer (SAP) plant with a capacity of 60,000mtpa started in May 2012 and is scheduled to come online in 2014.

Integrated petrochemical complex background details

The first steps in the development of the BASF-YPC petrochemical complex began in 1996. This was followed in 2000 with the approval of the joint feasibility study and the establishment of the joint venture company.

Groundbreaking took place in September 2001 with the plant beginning commercial operations in June 2005.

The complex plays an important role in enhancing the international competitiveness of China's petrochemical industry and is also contributing to the "rapid and healthy development of Nanjing and East China's economy".

Related content

BASF Chongqing MDI Plant, China

Chemicals giant BASF is building a methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) plant at Changshou Chemical Industry Park (CCIP), in Chongqing, south-western China.

BASF Neopor Plant, Ludwigshafen, Germany

The Neopor plant in Ludwigshafen, Germany, opened for operations in March 2009 and is operated by the German chemical company BASF.