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January 23, 2019

Volume 3 Issue 4

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Oxea Details Carboxylic Acid Expansion Plans

Oxea released additional details yesterday about its previously discussed plan to increase production capacity of carboxylic acids, which are used for manufacturing lubricant esters. The German chemical maker said it will debottleneck and optimize production processes at existing facilities and then build another plant by 2021.

Oxea claims to be the world’s largest producer of carboxylic acids, with global capacity of 180,000 metric tons per year. In July the company first said that it would increase its carboxylic production capacity in order to meet rising demand from synthetic refrigeration lubricants and animal feeds. On Monday the company it will work this year and next to debottleneck its five plants that currently produce carboxylic acids and to fine-tune their production processes.

The company did not reveal the cost of that work or discuss the overall impact on its carboxylic acid output, but it did say its global capacity for one carboxylic acid, isononanoic acid, will double in 2019. Oxea produces carboxylic acids at three plants in Oberhausen, Germany, and at one plant each in Marl, Germany, and Bay City, Texas, United States.

A press release issued Monday said the company has not yet selected a location for its sixth plant and is considering sites in Oman and China, as well as locations of its existing facilities.

“The site selection study for the new world-scale production platform has been funded by the Oxea board,” Executive Vice President for Global Marketing and Sales Markus Hoschke said in the press release, adding that basic engineering for the facility will begin in the first half of 2019. Oxea, which is based in Monheim, Germany, is owned by Oman Oil Co.

Demand for synthetic refrigeration oils is rising because of initiatives to phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons. Those efforts are part of the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement to stop using substances harmful to the ozone layer. Originally it committed countries to phase out the use of chlorofluorocarbons, which were widely used in refrigerants but were found to create holes in the ozone layer.

HFCs were an initial substitute, but though not directly harmful to the ozone layer, they are greenhouse gasses, so they became a target of efforts to combat global warming. The Kigali amendment, which took effect Jan. 1, mandates that most developed countries cut their HFC production by 80 percent by 2045.

Oxea carboxylic acids plant

Photo courtesy of Oxea

Oxea's carboxylic acids production unit in Oberhausen, Germany. The company plans to expand its global carboxylic acids production capacity, due to growing demand in refrigeration lubricants as well as other applications.