UpdateSKC targets 400,000 t/y of PO by 2011

24 July 2008 10:38  [Source: ICIS news]

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SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--South Korea’s SKC, Asia’s biggest propylene oxide (PO) maker, aims to produce up to 400,000 tonnes/year of material by the first half of 2011 mainly to meet growing domestic demand, the company said on Thursday.

SKC planned to significantly capture the expanding local PO market, which was estimated to grow at 5% a year from the current 300,000 tonnes/year, the company said in a press release.

SKC could currently satisfy more than 90% of the country’s PO demand, up from 61% a year earlier after achieving full operations at its new 100,000 tonne/year hydrogen peroxide-to-propylene oxide (HPPO) plant in Ulsan, the company added.

The won (W) 200bn ($203m) plant is the first in the world to commercialise the HPPO process under a licence agreement with chemical company Evonik and engineering technology firm Uhde, both of Germany.

The plant achieved on-spec output in May after two months of trial runs.

The fresh capacity was not expected to affect the regional market any time soon as SKC remained focused on its domestic clients, producers and end-users said, and there were no immediate plans for export, a company source said.

SKC was considering building another 100,000 tonne/year HPPO facility by the first half of 2011, although nothing firm had been decided, the company source added.

The HPPO route has the advantage of lower capital costs than conventional processes and produces no significant quantities of by-products besides water.

Along with a 175,000 tonne/year PO/styrene monomer (SM) plant, the HPPO plant brings SKC’s combined PO nameplate capacity to 275,000 tonnes/year.

PO is a feedstock for polyether polyols (PPG) and propylene glycol (PG).

Products from PO and its derivatives include surfactants, cosmetics, lubricants, automobile parts, heat insulating materials for refrigerators and liquefied natural gas (LNG) ships, construction materials, synthetic resins and paint.

($1 = W1,014)

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By: Hsin Hun Wan
+65 6780 4359

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