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Clariant Expanding in U.S. on ‘Tremendous Opportunity’

Clariant AG, the Swiss chemical maker, expects to continue expanding in the U.S. to take advantage of the “tremendous opportunity” created by rising production of oil and natural gas from shale formations.

Clariant is doubling its capacity in Louisville, Kentucky, to make catalysts that help convert gas liquids into propylene and butadiene, Chief Financial Officer Patrick Jany said by phone yesterday. It doubled capacity to make ethylene derivatives for crop chemicals and consumer products last year in Clear Lake, Texas, and the company “will certainly be looking at further increases” there, he said.

Clariant joins Dow Chemical Co. and South Africa’s Sasol Ltd., among others, in expanding U.S. production amid increased output of oil and gas from shale formations. The Muttenz, Switzerland-based company will benefit from sales to U.S. oil producers as well as to chemical makers benefiting from lower costs for raw materials and energy, he said.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for us,” Jany said. “We look at continuously increasing our capacity in the U.S.”

The company has begun to reverse a historical decline in U.S. market share, Clariant’s largest national market, with about 14 percent of sales last year, he said.

The oil and mining services unit is expanding its global headquarters in The Woodlands, Texas, this year to accommodate growth, including the purchase this year of Gulf of Mexico operations from Champion Technologies Inc., Jany said.

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