01 May 2000 00:00 [Source: ICB Americas]By Robert Brown
As part of its global capacity rationalization program, Celanese AG will halt the production of acetic acid at its Cangrejera, Mexico, facility by the end of July. The plant will be converted into an acetone derivatives unit, which is scheduled to start up in the fourth quarter. That unit will replace capacity the company will shutter in Celaya, Mexico, at the end of the year.
In July, Celanese will start up a 500,000-metric-ton acetic acid plant in Singapore. That plant will feature the company's patented AO methanol carbonylation technology, which is also used at Celanese's 1-million-metric-ton Clear Lake, Tex., plant. The 165,000-metric-ton Cangrejera plant operates on older and less efficient acetaldehyde-based oxidation technology.
Celanese says that customers who buy acetic acid at Cangrejera will be supplied, without interruption, from the Clear Lake plant.
"Our goal is to consolidate our acetic acid operations at large, cost-competitive plants placed strategically around the world," says Knut Zeptner, CEO of Celanese Chemicals and Acetate. "By closing less-competitive operations, such as Cangrejera, and starting up our Singapore plant, we will improve the global efficiency of our operations."
With the closing of Cangrejera, Celanese will have removed roughly 400,000 metric tons of high-cost acetic acid capacity, including its 180,000-metric-ton Frankfurt, Germany, unit in June 1999, and its 65,000-metric-ton Celaya, Mexico, unit in November 1999.
Last December, Celanese launched a restructuring of its acetic acid and acetate businesses. The company is consolidating its acetate filament operations in Narros, Va.; Ocotlan, Mexico; and Lanaken, Belgium. It is also phasing out acetate filament production at its plant in Rock Hill, S.C. At the same time, Celanese announced plans to shutter the Celaya, Mexico, acetyl chemicals plant and reduce its acetate filter production by 10,000 tons by the third quarter of this year.
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