Leading polyolefins producer Borealis has announced that it has signed an agreement to buy out Dupont's 67% stake in its Speciality Polymers Antwerp joint venture. Speciality Polymers Antwerp N.V. was established in 2000 at an existing Borealis plant in Zwijndrecht, Belgium, to manufacture high-pressure copolymers. Under the proposed arrangement, DuPont will continue to serve the market with ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) and acrylate copolymers produced at the Speciality Polymers Antwerp facility.
"The acquisition of the full ownership of Speciality Polymers Antwerp is in line with our strategy to grow our polyolefin business in specific market areas", says Mark Garrett, CEO of Borealis. "Acrylate copolymers, which are part of a broader portfolio of specialty polymers produced at Speciality Polymers Antwerp, are an important building block for our value-added products sold into our core Energy & Infrastructure market."
The transaction is subject to approval by the relevant competition authorities and will be presented to the employee representatives concerned.
In addition to this acquisition, Borealis also announced the signing of a 10-year agreement with Antero Resources to supply ethane from the United States for its flexible steam cracker in Stenungsund, Sweden. Antero Resources is an independent oil and natural gas company engaged in the acquisition, development and production of unconventional oil and liquids-rich natural gas properties located in the Appalachian Basin in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The project also includes a shipping agreement with Navigator Holdings and a related multi-million investment in an upgrade of the cracker and the construction of an ethane storage tank.
The ethane supply coming to Stenungsund by ship will be stored in a purpose-built, fully refrigerated ethane tank. A lump-sum turnkey agreement has been signed with TGE Gas Engineering GmbH to construct the tank. In parallel, Borealis will also upgrade its steam cracker to enable increased ethane cracking.
Borealis' olefins and polyolefins portfolio in Europe is built around integrated crackers and derivative complexes in Porvoo, Finland; Stenungsund, Sweden; Kallo, Belgium; Schwechat, Austria; and Burghausen, Germany. The cracker in Stenungsund is one of the most feedstock-flexible crackers in Europe. In addition to ethane, it can also crack naphtha, propane and butane. Stenungsund has significant liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage capacity, allowing the company to source LPG from various sources with vessel sizes ranging up to very large gas carriers.
"We need to take advantage of the significant shift in ethane availability triggered by the U.S. shale gas boom," explained Garret. "In an increasingly challenging environment in Europe this is an exciting opportunity to increase the competitiveness of our integrated polyolefins business."
Borealis is based in Vienna, Austria. The company is majority-owned by state-owned International Petroleum Investment of Abu Dhabi and generated sales of more than $10bn in 2013. IPIC also owns North American ethylene and polyethylene producer Nova Chemicals and Middle Eastern petrochemicals firm Borouge.