InterviewJG Summit eyes 60-70% share of Philippines polymer market

25 August 2011 08:24  [Source: ICIS news]

By Pearl Bantillo

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--JG Summit Petrochemical hopes to garner a much bigger share of the Philippines' polymer market upon the completion of its naphtha cracker in Batangas about three years from now, a company executive said on Thursday.

In addition, the company is looking at exporting about a third of its reinvigorated plastics production by then.

JG Summit Petrochemical is expecting its share of the Philippines' polymer market, which is estimated at between 550,000-600,000 tonnes/year, to grow to 60-70% from 20-30% currently, JG Summit Petrochemical executive vice president for commercial operations Patrick Go told ICIS.

The domestic plastics demand in the Philippines has been growing along with the country’s GDP at an average of 4-5% annually, Go said.

JG Summit Petrochemical operates a 210,000 tonne/year polyethylene (PE) plant and 190,000 tonne/year (PP) polypropylene unit in Batangas and is running them at 30-35% of their capacities since they were built in the late 1990s, Go added.

“We are operating at really low rates. We’re having a hard time buying [feedstock] from the spot market to support production,” Go said.

However, this is expected to grow significantly by early 2014, when the JG Summit Petrochemical starts commercial production at its upstream naphtha cracker, which is currently under construction, Go said.

JG Summit Holdings, the parent firm of JG Summit Petrochemical, has started building a $700m (€483m) naphtha cracker, the first in the Philippines, after more than a decade of delays.

The construction of the cracker, which will produce 320,000 tonnes/year of ethylene and 190,000 tonnes/year of propylene, is expected to be completed in June 2013, with commercial production expected early the following year.

All of the cracker’s output will be for captive use at the company’s downstream polymer plants.

JG Summit Petrochemical will have increased the capacity at its PE plant by 60% to 320,000 tonnes through debottlenecking once it has started up the cracker and will keep its PP output at 190,000 tonnes/year.

The company’s naphtha project was stalled for more than a decade as funding was held up by a series of financial crises in different parts of the world, starting with the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, Go said.

The JG Summit group is now financing the project using internal resources.

For more information on polymers, visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections

By: Pearl Bantillo
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