Anthony Hankins, president of Huntsman Polyurethanes, said the company was studying several options to raise output in Geismar in order to meet rising demand for MDI. He added that, “with the benefits of US shale gas, the economics of investing in our US facilities has improved significantly.” He added that the proposed investment would complement the group’s previously announced planned expansion in China. In response to a Plasteurope.com query, a company spokesman said Huntsman had applied for approval from the Chinese authorities to expand its site in Caojing / China a few years ago, adding that the group was confident the okay would come "in the near future".
According to PIE’s Polyglobe capacity database (www.polyglobe.net), Huntsman currently turns out 450,000 t/y of MDI at Geismar, as well as 400,000 t/y in Rozenburg / The Netherlands. In addition, the US group also operates an MDI joint venture with BASF (Ludwigshafen / Germany; www.basf.com) and Sinopec (Beijing / China; www.sinopec.com) in Caojing, which turns out 240,000 t/y of the polyurethane feedstock.