04 October 2004 00:01 [Source: ACN]
ASAHI Kasei Chemicals Corp has made China an alternative site for its previously announced 200 000–250 000 tonne/year acrylonitrile project, a company source told ACN.
The Japanese media recently reported that Asahi was considering an acrylonitrile project in China and that it would start construction in 2005, with start-up scheduled for 2008.
The source said that, although the company had set 2008 as a targeted start-up date, it had not made any concrete plans. He added that, with this target, Asahi would have until 2006 to make an investment decision as construction would take about two years.
Meanwhile, the company has dropped Saudi Arabia as a potential site for its greenfield acrylonitrile project because of high-propane feedstock costs, according to the source.
Asahi was considering Thailand, Saudi Arabia and other countries in Asia as possible sites for a new acrylonitrile plant a few years ago. It had proposed building a plant in Thailand or Saudi Arabia, but put the project on hold in 2002 because of expected poor returns (ACN 6 October 2003; 4 February 2002).
The company is likely to use its own propane-to-acrylonitrile technology for its greenfield acrylonitrile project. Propane pricing could become an issue in Saudi Arabia as the kingdom has agreed to remove the subsidies on domestic propane supply in its bid to join the World Trade Organization (ACN 29 September 2003).
Asahi had been considering commercialising its propane-to-acrylonitrile technology at its 150 000 tonne/year facility in Kawasaki, Japan, or at Asahi’s other plants (ACN 1 March 2004).
The source said the company had reached the final stage of evaluating the economics of such a conversion, and added that it might take six months to a year to decide where the new technology would be used.
(ACN 1 March 2004).
The source said the company was still considering an integration. If Asahi decided to integrate the proposed facilities, the start-up date for the MMA project would be delayed to 2008, he added.
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