Suppliers' News

Novus and ATOFINA Break Ground on MMP Plant in Beaumont, Texas, U.S.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Novus International, Inc., and ATOFINA Chemicals, Inc., formally inaugurate the construction of a 3-methylthiopropionaldehyde (MMP) plant today with a groundbreaking ceremony at ATOFINA’s Beaumont, Texas, facility"the site of the new 150 million pound unit. 

MMP is one of the key intermediates used to manufacture Alimet® Feed Supplement, a leading source of supplemental methionine in feed.  An essential amino acid and one of the building blocks of protein, methionine is required by animals to meet nutritional needs for proper growth, health and reproduction. 

“This project will enable Novus to operate our Alimet® plant at Chocolate Bayou, Texas, at its full capacity of 625 million pounds per year,” said Thad Simons, Novus President and Chief Operating Officer.

The new MMP plant will benefit from the on-site integrated supply by ATOFINA of two key raw materials, methyl mercaptan from ATOFINA’s existing units at Beaumont and acrolein, which will be produced in a new 80 million pound unit, also part of this construction project. 

“This project shows that ATOFINA will continue its global leadership in thio chemistry,” said Regional Group President for Thiochemicals and Fine Chemicals, Manny Katz.  “We will use our demonstrated expertise in methyl mercaptan production and apply it to the safe and economic production of acrolein and MMP.” 

Construction of the units will take place in phases and is expected to be completed in 2004, with the plants coming on-stream in early 2005.  Ground fill work on the site began this year after the required permits had been received.

“I want to thank our neighbors for their support throughout this project,” said Gerardo Mata, plant manager.  “By taking the lead in coordinating the shipments of fill and equipment for ATOFINA, the Charlton Pollard Neighborhood Association has demonstrated that neighborhoods and businesses can work together and reach a mutually satisfying solution.” 

The MMP project will result in additional full-time positions at ATOFINA’s Beaumont facility, employing as many as 450 construction workers during various phases of the project.  Company officials have reiterated their intent to focus most of their hiring in the greater Beaumont area. 

Located at 2810 Gulf States Road, ATOFINA’s Beaumont facility employs 89 people and currently manufactures methyl mercaptan, ethyl mercaptan and dimethyl sulfide, which are used in the manufacture of biodegradable herbicides and pesticides, as well as MMP.  These products are also used in the production of pharmaceuticals, photographic chemicals and circuit boards.  Ethyl mercaptan is primarily used as an odorizer for propane gas.  The strong odor that ethyl mercaptan adds to propane makes leaks easy to detect, protecting homes and businesses. 

Novus International, Inc. is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, and serves customers in more than 80 countries around the world.  An industry leader and one of the foremost suppliers of amino acids for animal agriculture, Novus products include Alimet® Feed Supplement, ADVENT® Coccidiosis Control, Oasis® Hatchling Supplement, feed grade antioxidants and many other specialty ingredients.

Headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ATOFINA Chemicals, Inc., employs 3,000 people and produces high-performance chemicals and polymers.  The Company reported sales in 2002 of $1.4 billion.  ATOFINA Chemicals, Inc. is part of ATOFINA, the world’s sixth largest chemical company with 71,500 employees and 2002 sales of $18.2 billion (€19.3 billion).  ATOFINA is the chemicals branch of TOTAL (NYSE: TOT), the world’s fourth largest oil and gas company, with 121,000 employees and 2002 sales of $97.6 billion (€103 billion).   

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