BASF plans to build a production plant for formic acid at its integrated “Verbund” site in Geismar, La. The new plant will have an annual capacity of more than 50,000 tons. Start-up of the new plant is expected in the second quarter 2014.


When completed, the project would be the only formic acid production plant in North America. BASF currently operates two formic acid production plants located in Ludwigshafen, Germany, and Nanjing, China, with a total annual capacity of more than 255,000 tons.


Both formic acid and potassium formate are used in the oil field industry as part of the drilling and completion process, as well as in shale gas exploration to promote extraction. Formic acid is an excellent de-scaling agent as well, and is used in industrial cleaning to remove mineral deposits from desalination plants, refineries and other processing industries.


“This investment demonstrates our commitment to the increasing market demand in North and South America driven by current and new applications of the versatile formic acid,” said Soeren Hildebrandt, senior vice president of BASF’s Intermediates division, in a statement.