BP and ZPCC explore the creation of a world-scale acetic acid joint venture

Source: press release, 18 October 2019

BP and ZPCC sign MoU for world-scale acetic acid joint venture in China
BP and ZPCC sign MoU for world-scale acetic acid joint venture in China (photo: BP)

BP and China’s Zhejiang Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (ZPCC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore the creation of a new equally owned joint venture to build and operate a 1 million tonnes per annum (tpa) acetic acid plant in eastern China.

The proposed facility – in Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province – would deploy BP’s CATIVA® XL technology to produce acetic acid, a versatile intermediate chemical used in a variety of products such as paints, adhesives and solvents. It is also used in the production of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) of which BP is a leading global manufacturer.

The potential new plant, which would be an addition to ZPCC’s major integrated refining and petrochemical manufacturing complex at Zhoushan, would be BP’s largest acetic acid producing site in the world.

China is the world’s largest acetic acid market and accounts for more than half of global production capacity. BP is a long-term investor in China with a number of existing petrochemical manufacturing facilities in the country, including two existing acetic acid joint ventures.

The MoU was signed by Nigel Dunn, chief executive of BP’s Global Acetyls business and Luo Wei, executive director of ZPCC and was witnessed by Xiaoping Yang, BP China Chairman and President, Li Shuirong, Chairman of ZPCC and senior officials from Zhejiang Province. The signing took place at the third International Petroleum and Natural Gas Enterprises Conference (IPEC 2019) in Zhoushan.

“This is a significant new opportunity for BP in China, one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for petrochemicals,” says Rita Griffin, chief operating officer, BP Petrochemicals. “Combining BP Acetyls’ world-leading technology and know-how, with ZPCC’s world-class mega complex and local expertise, our new partnership will help meet demand for these important products.”

Li Shuirong, Chairman of ZPCC says, “ZPCC is delighted to sign this MoU with BP to explore this opportunity for acetic acid production. I am confident that this cooperation will help ZPCC to optimise its site structure and improve competitiveness, and together, we shall advance the high-quality development of China’s petrochemical industry.”

BP’s proprietary CATIVA® XL technology requires significantly lower capital investment and offers superior operating performance when compared with other acetic acid technologies. In support of BP’s commitment to advancing a low carbon future, CATIVA® XL technology is also more energy efficient and has a high production reliability track record, which also contributes to a lower carbon footprint.

Xiaoping Yang, BP China Chairman and President, adds, “We are excited at the potential of this new partnership with ZPCC, a further demonstration of our long-term commitment to the Chinese market. With this proposed investment, we will continue to expand BP’s business footprint in China and to contribute to the country’s economic, environmental and social sustainability.”