16 June 2011 04:52 [Source: ICIS news]
By Tahir Ikram
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Lotte Pakistan PTA (Lotte PPTA) plans to triple its purified terephthalic acid (PTA) nameplate capacity to 1.5m tonnes/year by late 2014 to meet the growing domestic and regional demand, a company executive said on Thursday.
The company has a 500,000 tonne/year plant located at Port Qasim, 50 km (31 miles) outside the industrial port city of Karachi.
“The cost of expansion will be between $450m (€320m) to $500m,” said Asif Saad, CEO of Lotte PPTA, the only PTA manufacturer in the country.
“If it goes according to plan, it [the new capacity] should start up by the end of 2014,” Saad told ICIS in an email from Karachi.
Lotte, the South Korean conglomerate, acquired the majority share holding in Pakistan PTA Limited (PPTA) in September 2009. The name of the company was subsequently changed to Lotte Pakistan PTA, according to company’s website.
According to the website, Lotte PPTA has made the single largest foreign direct investment to date of $490m in Pakistan’s petrochemical industry.
The PTA output from the company’s existing 500,000 tonne/year plant is sold in the domestic market. However, a small quantity is exported every year, mainly to the Middle East and India and occasionally to China, Saad said.
Pakistan, which has a large downstream textile sector along with a fast growing polyethylene terephthalate (PET) market, has an annual PTA consumption that is estimated at 650,000 tonnes, Saad said, adding that Lotte PPTA produces 500,000 tonnes/year, so the country has to import the balance to meet demand.
Saad said Pakistan’s polyester market growth has been at 7-8% annually, a trend likely to continue in years ahead.
The PTA expansion plans run parallel to Byco Oil Pakistan Ltd's (BOPL) construction of the country’s first aromatics facility, expected to come on line by the middle of 2013.
The aromatics facility will produce about 100,000 tonnes/year of benzene, 92,000 tonnes/year of paraxylene (PX), 80,000 tonnes/year of isomer-grade mixed xylene (MX) and 50,000 tonnes/year of orthoxylene (OX).
When asked if Lotte PPTA will be buying feedstock PX from Byco after the completion of its aromatics facility, Saad said: “It is too early to consider purchasing PX from Byco.”
He said Lotte PPTA will be purchasing approximately 1m tonnes of feedstock PX after the start-up of its new capacity.
“This means [the] bulk of product [PX] will continue to be sourced from overseas, until such time that Lotte PPTA feels ready to put up its own PX plant in Pakistan. The company plans to use its footprint in Pakistan to become a regional petrochemical player,” Saad added.
($1 = €0.71)
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