German chemical giant BASF SE has said that it is currently evaluating an investment in a world-scale methane-to-propylene complex on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The company says that the on-purpose production of propylene, to supply its North American operations, would mean that it could take advantage of low gas prices that have resulted from U.S. shale gas production.
If the investment goes ahead it will be BASF's largest ever single-plant investment. The chemical company says that the details of the investment, including the amount, capacity of the plant and its specific location are under evaluation.
BASF says it sees the potential investment as a way to continue to strengthen its backward integration into propylene and to grow its propylene based activities. Propylene is used in the production of many higher-value chemicals.
The news came as BASF released its first quarter 2014 financial results, reporting strong overall sales of 19.5 billion euros ($27 billion), down only 1 percent on the first quarter of 2013.
Its functional materials and solutions division, which includes products for the automotive industry as well as its engineering plastics and polyurethane systems, reported sales of 4.24 billion euros ($5.8 billion) for 2014's first quarter up on 4.18 billion euros ($5.7 billion) for the same period in 2013.
BASF reported sales of about 74 billion euros ($102 billion) in 2013 and currently employs over 112,000 people worldwide.