InterviewExxonMobil Singapore plants to focus on metallocene LLDPE

18 May 2011 21:44  [Source: ICIS news]

By Chow Bee Lin

GUANGZHOU (ICIS)--ExxonMobil’s existing and upcoming polyethylene (PE) plants on Jurong Island, Singapore, will focus on making metallocene linear low density PE (LLDPE) if there is demand for such a volume of supply, a senior company executive said on Wednesday.

ExxonMobil’s existing 600,000 tonne/year PE plant in Singapore will focus on making metallocene LLDPE once its two new PE facilities with a combined capacity of 1.3m tonnes/year come on stream, but all three plants will produce metallocene LLDPE if there is demand, said ExxonMobil polyolefins business unit vice president John Verity.

"All our reactors in Singapore will be capable of making metallocene products in the future, and so as our business grows, then we won’t be constrained to one reactor for metallocene and other reactors for other things. We want to grow our capability to produce metallocene as demand for that product grows in Asia,” he said.

He spoke on the sidelines of the four-day ChinaPlas exhibition.

The new PE plants are part of ExxonMobil’s new petrochemical complex on Jurong Island. The producer has said the new complex will start up in phases this year but declined to give a specific timeline.

Verity said Asia’s metallocene LLDPE market would not slip into a short-term oversupply when ExxonMobil’s existing plant in Singapore starts producing metallocene LLDPE, because the producer will work on matching supply to demand.

ExxonMobil has been supplying metallocene LLDPE to Asia from its plants in North America in the past three or four years, as part of its pre-marketing efforts. Hence supply from its Singapore plant will replace its supply from North America, he said.

"So it’s not actually a big step in supply, it’s really just a change in supply point,” he said.

ExxonMobil’s global metallocene business has been growing at double digits since it was introduced around 15 years ago, and metallocene PE has become a much more significant part of ExxonMobil’s global product mix over the last 10 years, said Verity.

"Our metallocene polyethylene business in Asia is growing very, very quickly, it has been growing well above 20% a year for the last five years, and we expect that kind of growth to continue,” he said.

ChinaPlas is being held in Guangzhou from 17-20 May. 

By: Chow Bee Lin
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