Taiwan's CAPCO to restart idled No 2 PTA plant in early February

16 December 2010 05:37  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Taiwan’s China American Petrochemical Co (CAPCO) plans to restart one of its two idled purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plants in Kaohsiung in early February as market conditions had become more favourable, a source close to the company said on Thursday.

The 250,000 tonne/year No 2 PTA plant has been idle since mid-2007 due to squeezed margins caused by rising feedstock paraxylene (PX) costs and poor PTA pricing, according to an earlier report by ICIS.

“We started the preparation work at the No 2 [plant] a few months ago, making sure the plant could still be restarted after [the] long-term shutdown,” the source said.

The company had no plans to restart another idled line, the 250,000 tonne/year No 1 plant, as the facility was considered too dilapidated to resume operation, he said.

PTA plants in Asia had been running at a generous margin of $153/tonne (€116/tonne) on average in 2010, compared with the average margins of $68/tonne in 2009, $16/tonne in 2008 and $25/tonne in 2007, according to ICIS data.

“Market fundamentals for PTA were expected to remain strong in 2011 because its expansion speed could not catch up with the demand growth from the downstream polyester industry,” said the source.

The major possesses six lines in total – five at Kaohsiung and one 700,000 tonne/year plant at Taichung - with a nameplate capacity of 2.1m tonnes/year. Among the five at Kaohsiung, four have the same capacity of 250,000 tonnes/year, while the biggest one has a capacity of 400,000 tonnes/year. 

CAPCO is a joint venture between BP, which holds a 61.4% stake, and CPC Corp, which owns the rest.

($1 = €0.76)

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By: Becky Zhang
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