20 May 2011 21:11 [Source: ICIS news]
GUANGZHOU (ICIS)--Dow Chemical has been producing more octene-based metallocene linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) in Thailand after its second joint venture plant at Map Ta Phut started up earlier this year, but the higher output has no significant impact on the regional supply balance, a company executive said on Friday.
Asia’s markets should be able to absorb the additional octene-based metallocene LLDPE from Dow’s plant in Thailand, because most of the plants in Asia produce only hexene-based metallocene LLDPE, said Dow's plastics sales director for Greater China, Lawrence Cheung.
He spoke on the sidelines of the four-day Chinaplas exhibition, which runs through Friday.
Dow's octene-based metallocene LLDPE commands a premium over the hexene-based metallocene LLDPE in Asia, and these two types of metallocene LLDPE cannot fully substitute each other, he said.
"We're the price leader," he said.
Many buyers in Asia do not understand that octene-based metallocene LLDPE has better properties, compared with hexene-based metallocene LLDPE, said Cheung.
"For very advanced customers, they can tell the difference. For tip-top food packaging customers, they know. For general customers, of course they don't know," he said.
But as Asia's markets become more sophisticated, more plastics processors will come to appreciate the difference between the two types of metallocene LLDPE, he added.
There has been strong regional demand for Dow's octene-based LLDPE, and all its additional supply from Thailand had been committed to customers for the rest of the year, said Cheung.
The start-up of Dow's second joint venture LLDPE plant in Thailand with a 350,000 tonne/year capacity had freed up capacity at its first joint venture plant at the same site for producing more octene-based LLDPE, he said.
Its first joint venture plant has a 300,000 tonne/year capacity. Both plants are operated by Siam Polyethylene, a 50-50 joint venture between Dow Chemical and Siam Cement.
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