BP signed an agreement with JBF Petrochemicals to licence its latest generation purified terephthalic acid (PTA) technology.
JBF Petrochemicals, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mumbai-based polyster producer JBF Industries Ltd, plans to build a 1.25 million tonnes per annum (tpa) unit at the special economic zone in Mangalore, India, to produce PTA, the primary feedstock for polyesters used in textiles and packaging. JBF expects the Mangalore plant to come on stream at the end of 2014.
Nick Elmslie, chief executive of BP's global petrochemicals business, this is the first third party, non-affiliate, licence agreement that BP has signed.
''Our PTA technology has significantly lower capital and operating costs compared with conventional PTA plants and is more energy efficient, uses less water, and produces less solid waste than its competitors. We have invested significantly in our proprietary technology and there are two routes to monetise this; one is through investment and one is through licensing. We have decided that the maximum value to BP will come both from investing in projects such as our Zhuhai 3 project in Guangdong, China and through licensing.''
Over the years the PTA market has continued to grow with over 80 per cent of the demand now in Asia, of which China alone accounts for 50 per cent. ''The market is now of such a scale - greater than 50 million tonnes a year and continuing to grow at close to 7 per cent - that three or four new world-scale plants per year will be needed. This creates a material opportunity for us to add value by way of our technology,'' says Elmslie.
B C Arya, chairman JBF Industries Ltd, and director JBF Petrochemicals, says, ''This investment is highly strategic for us, fulfilling our captive requirements for PTA at the lowest possible cost. This will make our integrated operations in India and the UAE highly competitive for the long term and underpin our position as one of the world's leading polyester producers.''
In October 2011, BP and JBF reached agreement on the construction of JBF's 390,000 tpa PET (polyester resin) plant at Geel, Belgium, alongside BP's 1.4 million tpa asset, Europe's largest PTA facility.