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ASHLAND CHEMICAL TO EXPAND MALEIC ANHYDRIDE PLANT IN NEAL, WEST VIRGINIA

 ASHLAND CHEMICAL TO EXPAND
 MALEIC ANHYDRIDE PLANT IN NEAL, WEST VIRGINIA
 ASHLAND, Ky., Jan. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Ashland Chemical, Inc., a subsidiary of Ashland Oil, Inc. (NYSE: ASH), today announced it will invest $12.5 million to expand its Neal, W.Va., maleic anhydride plant.
 The expansion will increase the plant's production of maleic anhydride from its current annual production rate of 63 million pounds to approximately 90 million pounds annually, according to Michael D. Killian, vice president and general manager, petrochemical, for Ashland Chemical.
 "Expected increases in the market for maleic anhydride, along with an increase in Ashland Chemical's internal demand for the product, make an expansion of the Neal plant attractive," Killian said. Maleic anhydride is used in a number of markets, the most important of which are unsaturated polyester resins (for use in fiberglass boats, cultured marble, and automotive body panels), lubricating oil additives, and agricultural chemicals. Maleic anhydride is produced through the conversion of butane, using oxygen and a specialized catalyst under controlled conditions.
 Construction at the Neal plant is expected to begin in early 1992 with start-up of the expansion scheduled for mid-1993. The project is currently out for bids to contractors and is expected to create about 50 new construction jobs in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio, according to Harold N. Hicks, Neal plant manager.
 The expansion will be performed in two phases to allow for continued production during the new construction. The first phase will involve the construction of a new 30 million pound per year reactor which will initially increase the plant's production capacity to about 71 million pounds per year. The second phase will include the installation of additional equipment to further increase production capability when needed.
 Based in Columbus, Ohio, Ashland Chemical is a leading producer and distributor of chemicals, specialty chemicals, petrochemicals and plastics for industry.
 /delval/
 /CONTACT: Tom Dalesio of Ashland Oil, Inc., 606-329-3445/
 (ASH) CO: Ashland Oil, Inc.; Ashland Chemical, Inc. ST: Ohio, Kentucky IN: OIL SU:


CD -- PG004 -- 8668 01/10/92 14:00 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 10, 1992
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