BASF to Consolidate and Upgrade Polyacrylamide Bead Production

BASF will consolidate the production of PAM beads into its Bradford facility, Great Britain, where the company operates a backward integrated production plant with worldwide supply capability. Significant investment will be made to increase and upgrade the bead capacity at the Bradford site, and this will ensure a consistent supply of PAM beads to BASF's customers globally.

PAM products are a state-of-the-art product range for use in solid-liquid separation processes. They are available as powders and beads or in liquid form (inverse emulsions) and are extensively used in the global growth markets for Water Treatment, Oilfield and Mining as well as Paper Chemicals.

As a result of the consolidation, BASF intends to close down its PAM bead production unit at its Suffolk site, Virginia, effective January 2012. Other production activities are not affected by the shift in production. The production unit was considered too small to support the strong growth path for BASF's Water Treatment and Oilfield and Mining Chemicals businesses in North America.About 50 BASF employees will be affected. From January 2012, North American customers will be supplied with PAM beads from Bradford, Great Britain, which already supplies the North American market with other PAM products.

The consolidation of PAM bead production complements other strategic measures and investments geared towards profitable growth in BASF's key markets Water Treatment, Oilfield, Mining as well as Paper Chemicals. These measures include investing in world-scale backward integrated production plants for Water Treatment and Paper Chemicals in Nanjing, China, with capacities of 40,000 tons of quaternized cationic monomers and 20,000 tons of cationic Polyacrylamides per year, as well as significant capacity expansions for cationic monomers in West Memphis, Arkansas, and for inverse emulsions in Suffolk, Virginia.

"BASF is well positioned to meet the growing customer demand in the water treatment industry due to our excellent position in the value chain", explains Dr. Matthias Halusa, head of BASF's Water Solutions business. "The consolidation of PAM bead production is strengthening our business and, together with our focused investment at our West Memphis and Suffolk sites, it will also support BASF's profitable growth strategy for North America. We will continue to serve our valued customers in this important region by supplying them with our high-quality and innovative PAM products and services. North America plays a central role in our global Water Solutions strategy."

Denise M. Joost, head of BASF's Oilfield and Mining Chemicals business in North America adds: "For the Oilfield and Mining Chemicals businesses, the shift of the bead production from Suffolk to Bradford is another step in our strategy to optimize our production assets globally so that we ensure competitive bead supply to our customers in North America, which will remain a key region for the growing oilfield and mining industries."

Application of Polyacrylamide (PAM)

  • Due to their outstanding properties PAM products play a key role in BASF's portfolio for the growth markets for Water Treatment, Oilfield and Mining as well as Paper Chemicals:
  • In the water treatment industry, PAM is mainly used for various solid-liquid separation applications in drinking water and sludge dewatering processes.
  • In the mining industry, PAM beads are primarily used for mineral extraction processes and water recovery with main application in binders and specialty flocculants.
  • In the oilfield industry specialty PAM beads are primarily used in drilling.
  • In the paper industry, the PAM product range is used for retention and drainage in paper and paperboard machines as well as in the paper mill effluent treatment process.

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