BASF and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec Corp.) have signed a USD 500 million agreement to expand their joint chemical Verbund site in Nanjing. The agreement was formalized by Mr Chen Tonghai, President of China Petrochemical Corp. (Sinopec Group) and Chairman of Sinopec Corp., and BASF’s Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, Dr Jürgen Hambrecht, during a signing ceremony in Berlin. Following last year’s smooth and successful start-up, BASF-YPC Co. Ltd – the 50:50 joint venture between BASF and Sinopec – plans to extend its joint operations by expanding the capacity of its steam cracker and investing in additional downstream plants to further strengthen synergies at the site. Major pillars of the investment are: expansion of steam cracker from 600,000 to around 750,000 metric tons of ethylene per year; expansion of the ethylene oxide (EO) plant and development of EO derivatives to strengthen the ethylene value chain producing non-ionic surfactants for detergents and the solvent butylglycol ether; development of the C4 value chain including C4-specialties: Butadiene and isobutene as chemical raw materials, 2-propylheptanol for a new generation plasticizer and polyisobutene derivatives as fuel and lubricant additives; and extension of the acrylics value chain to produce super absorbent polymers for hygiene and industrial applications. The new activities are expected to come on stream in 2009. Both companies also agreed to integrate their second joint operation Yangzi-BASF Styrenics in Nanjing into BASF-YPC Co. Ltd to increase efficiency and make full use of existing synergies.