DALLAS — Chinese urethane specialist Wanhua Chemical Group Co. Ltd. is planning to build an MDI splitter on the U.S. Gulf Coast in either Texas or Louisiana, CEO Jiansheng Ding told UTECH-polyurethane.com on the sidelines of the CPI 2014 meeting.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Urethanes Technology International, a sister publication of Plastics News, Ding said that the company needed to strengthen its presence in the U.S. and that an MDI splitter would enable it to offer the full range of MDI grades to customers in the region. Ding said that the project was beyond the feasibility stage and that his staff had been working on it for 18 months.
He declined to give an indication of the scale of the splitter saying that it would match market requirements and that it is likely to come on stream in the early part of 2016.
“I can think of no reason to slow down the process,” Ding added.
Wanhua will “supply with product from China,” Ding said. “This will enable us, with the tanks farms, to really participate as a local producer,” Ding said.
Wanhua, based in Yantai, China, has a medium- to long-term goal of owning MDI production facilities in the U.S., he said. “This is our first project in North America,” Ding said. “We will see how it goes.” Ding added that his firm's strategy in the U.S. would be quite different to that in China, where Wanhua is back-integrated to coal with large production facilities. Wanhua is pursuing a step-by-step strategy in the U.S., he said.