10 December 2009 21:28 [Source: ICIS news]
DUBAI (ICIS news)--Saudi International Petrochemical Co (Sipchem) will start up its new 330,000 tonne/year vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) plant at Al Jubail next week, a senior company official said on Thursday.
"Our new acetic acid plant, which will provide feedstock to the VAM plant, is expected to achieve full output later this month," said Abdullah Al-Saadoon, president of Sipchem's acetyls complex, on the sidelines of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) forum.
The 450,000 tonne/year acetic acid plant was running at around 70% soon after it came on stream on 22 November but has gradually been ramped up, Al-Saadoon said.
Around 50% of the acetic acid output would be used for captive purposes and the remaining 50% would be exported through International chemical marketing firm Helm, which holds 10% stake in Sipchem.
"Local consumption of VAM is very small, so we have to export around 80-90% of our VAM output. We are diversifying our export markets, but see good demand in Europe, southeast ?xml:namespace>
Margins for acetic acid and VAM have been improving steadily this year, along with strong demand and rising prices, Al-Sadoon said. "We hope this trend will continue into next year."
The improvement in the economic outlook has boosted demand in segments such as paints and coatings, and in turn the demand for VAM and acetic acid, he said.
The three-day forum ends on Thursday.
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