Proprietary PET technology will give new US plant an edge – M&G

16 May 2011 23:40  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Mossi & Ghisolfi (M&G) believes its new large-scale, technologically advanced polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plant in the US Gulf coast will give it a strong competitive advantage, the company said on Monday.

M&G announced on 11 May that it would build a new single-line PET plant with a capacity of 1m tonnes/year, which would make it the largest such plant in the US.

The facility would use the same EasyUp technology employed at M&G’s Suape plant in Brazil, which came on stream in the first quarter of 2007.

“EasyUp solid stating technology has performed exceedingly well at our Suape plant in Brazil. It is seen as a competitive advantage over competition, and therefore licenses are not currently offered to PET manufacturers outside of M&G,” said Fred Fournier, global marketing and sales director at M&G Polymers USA.

A fully integrated purified terephthalic acid (PTA) unit at the same site will have a capacity of 1.2m tonnes/year, the company said in its 11 May press release, adding that two PTA production technologies are currently under evaluation.

M&G is understood to be negotiating with a paraxylene (PX) producer to secure the necessary raw materials for the PTA facility.

The plants will be located in Texas, Mississippi or Louisiana. A decision on the site is expected by the end of June, and construction time for both plants is estimated by M&G to be 30 months.

In July 2007, M&G announced that it would build an 800,000 tonne/year PET plant in the US, with the first 650,000 tonnes/year scheduled to come on stream in the first half of 2009.

The company’s plans were subsequently delayed by the financial crisis, explained Marco Ghisolfi, CEO of M&G's Polymers Business Unit, in the company’s press release.

M&G declined to provide details of how its latest project would be financed.

"As a result of demand growth fully recovering in 2010 and of several plants in North America having closed or been sold over the past few years, the industry supply/demand balance has now been restored, creating room in the market for our new plant,” Ghisolfi said.

Fournier elaborated that the company has "seen demand growing again, and not solely because of a recovering economy. PET is improving its penetration into new markets”.

“In spite of some recent restructuring, we believe the majority of [PET and PTA] plants in [the North American Free Trade Agreement] are undersized and high cost to run, and may not be globally competitive,” Fournier added.

An industry consultant said that M&G’s announcement had come as a surprise.

“Building another large plant in the US will happen one day, and it will probably cause some older assets to close, but in the next 30 months it is hard to see the economic justification,” the consultant said.

For more on PET visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Samuel Weatherlake
+44 20 8652 3214

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