INEOS YPC Phenol's Phenol and Acetone Production Plant, Nanjing, China

INEOS YPC Phenol ceremony

INEOS YPC Phenol, a 50/50 joint venture between INEOS Phenol and Sinopec Yangzi Petrochemical Company (YPC), started the construction of China's biggest phenol and acetone plant in September 2013.

The new 1.2 million tonne capacity plant, which is being constructed at the Nanjing Chemical Industry Park (NCIP) of Jiangsu Province, is likely to come online by the end of 2016.

An estimated investment of RMB3.15bn ($500m) is needed, and the project is expected to generate annual sales revenue of RMB4.9bn ($800m). It will supply low-water content phenol and acetone to on-site consumers and other customers.

Phenol and acetone applications

Phenol and acetone are organic chemical intermediates used in the production of polycarbonate, plastics, phenolic resins, synthetic fibres and solvents. End-user markets for phenol and acetone include the automotive, construction, pharmaceuticals, agrochemical, electronics and fibre industries.

Project background

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval was granted by the Environmental Protection Bureau of Jiangsu Province in November 2012. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China gave regulatory approval for construction in August 2013.

INEOS Phenol and Sinopec YPC signed a letter of intent to study and negotiate a joint venture (JV) to build and operate a plant in January 2010, and the memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed in January 2011. The JV agreements were initialled and agreed in March 2013 following the EIA approval, and formally signed in February.

Details, feedstock and processing technologies of the plant

The plant will have an annual production capacity of 400,000t of phenol, 250,000t of acetone and 550,000t of cumene.

"The 1.2 million tonne capacity plant is likely to come online by the end of 2016."

It will benefit from easy access to local feedstock, which will be supplied by Sinopec. The feedstock for the production of cumene includes benzene and propylene, while cumene is also used as a feedstock in the production of phenol and acetone.

The plant will utilise the associated infrastructure of both companies, and proprietary phenol technology developed by INEOS and Sinopec's cumene technology.

INEOS Phenol and Sinopec information

With an annual production of around 1.9 million tonnes of phenol and 1.2 million tonnes of acetone, INEOS Phenol is the world's biggest phenol and acetone manufacturer. The company's production facilities in Europe and America employ 600 people.

The new facility will increase its annual production capacity to more than 2.3 million tonnes of phenol and 1.4 million tonnes of acetone.

Sinopec Yangzi Petrochemical Company, a subsidiary of the China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, is a leading producer of phenol and acetone. Its business activities include crude oil refining, and production of ethylene, aromatics and hydrocarbon derivatives. It has more than 60 large-scale petrochemical units and three phenol and acetone production sites located in China.