24 February 1997 00:00 [Source: ACN]
SHOWA Denko will build a joint-venture ethyl acetate plant using its new technology in Merak, West Java, Indonesia.
The Japanese company will also consider debottlenecking at its affiliate, Tokuyama Petrochemical. Overall production is expected to double with the debottlenecking and startup of the Indonesian plant.
The 50-70 000 tonne/year Merak plant will be the world's first commercial plant to use Showa Denko's new technology. It is expected to start up in mid-1998.
The Yen2bn (US$16m) joint venture is to be called Showa Esterindo Indonesia and will be capitalised at US$12.4m. Its partners are: Showa Denko, 51%; Showa Denko's Indonesian distributor Indo Chemical, 30%; Tomen Corp, 14%; and Showa Denko's Singaporean distributor Chin Leong, 5%.
Showa Denko's new technology produces ethyl acetate directly from acetic acid and ethylene, simplifying the conventional process in which acetaldehyde is produced as an intermediate. The facility will cost half as much as a conventional plant producing ethyl acetate through acetaldehyde generated from ethylene, the company said.
A Showa Denko source told ACN that the new plant's ethylene requirements will be purchased from 'nearby countries, although where exactly has yet to be decided'.
The plant's acetic acid requirements will be wholly supplied by a new 100 000 tonne/year acetic acid plant being built at Showa Denko's petrochemical complex in Oita, Japan, which is due to come onstream in August. The plant produces acetic acid directly from the oxidation of ethylene.
Although demand for ethyl acetate has been flat in Japan, it is expected to grow at around 8%/year in other Asian countries. In Indonesia, demand stands at 20 000 tonne/year, and is growing at about 10%/year, Showa Denko said.
Tokuyama Petrochemical currently produces 100 000 tonne/year of ethyl acetate. Until the Merak plant is completed, Tokuyama is prepared to meet the growing ethyl acetate demand in Asia and expand its capacity through debottlenecking if necessary.
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