ERJ staff report (DS)
Duesseldorf, Germany -- Lanxess expects markets for butyl and halo butyl rubber to be tight from 2010 to 2013. Speaking at Lanxess annual media day, Dr Ron Commander, head of Lanxess' butyl rubber business, predicted tight supply until the company opens a new butyl rubber plant in Singapore in 2013.
The company initially said the 100 kt/year butyl rubber plant in Singapore would come on stream in 2011, but then delayed construction, meaning the plant will not open until 2013. This delay will lead to a global shortage of the material. To partially overcome this, the company is de-bottlenecking its older plants in Sarnia, Canada and Zwijndrecht, Netherlands. Lanxess then expects progressively to increase capacity from 2013 until 2020, aiming to match capacity with global demand.
Commander said the next phase of de-bottlenecking at Zwijndrecht will add 14 kt/year of capacity by mid-2012, then the company expects to bring on stream much more capacity in Singapore from mid 2013.
He said that the tyre industry's share of the global butyl rubber industry fell to 76 percent in 2010 from 84 percent in 2008. This was partly due to the global decline in tyre production in 2009, but also a result of doubling in demand for butyl rubber from the pharmaceutical industry in that time.
In a final comment, Commander said Lanxess is working with bio-technology company Gevo to produce isobutanol from sugar using micro-organisms. This isobutanol can be de-hydrated to form isobutene which is a significant raw material for butyl rubber.
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Presentation by Ron Commander from Lanxess