Taiwan’s Formosa delays Ningbo EVA plant start-up to Q4 2013

09 February 2012 03:57  [Source: ICIS news]

Rapid growth in photovoltaic sector drives global EVA expansionSINGAPORE (ICIS)--Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics will push back the start-up its ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) project in Ningbo, China to the fourth quarter of 2013, given present difficulty in securing plant equipment, a company official said on Thursday.

A 72,000 tonne/year EVA plant being built in eastern China under the first phase of the project was originally scheduled to come on stream in the third quarter of next year.

“We have had to delay the start-up of the Ningbo EVA plant by a quarter to the fourth quarter of 2013,” said the source, citing strong competition for high-pressure plant equipment, such as reactors and pipings, in the wake of numerous EVA capacity expansion activities in Asia and globally.

Bullish prospects in the downstream photovoltaic sector have led to a “rush to build EVA plants”, the source said. High vinyl acetate-content EVA is used at making solar cell encapsulant films.

Among major EVA producers with planned or ongoing plant expansion are Sumitomo Chemical, Honam Petrochemical, Wacker Chemical and Celanese.

Formosa Plastics will be relying on imported ethylene feedstock for the first phase of the Ningbo EVA project.

The 72,000 tonne/year plant will mainly produce EVA with a high vinyl acetate (VA) content of above 26% and high melt-index grades that can be used for the production of hot melt adhesives and solar cell encapsulant films.

The company is assessing whether to proceed with the second phase of the Ningbo project that will raise its annual EVA capacity to 200,000 tonnes - because of uncertainties in securing ethylene feedstock in China, the source said.

“Whether we will proceed on the second phase or not, it will depend on the ethylene situation,” the source said.

Major EVA producers in Asia include Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics and USI Far East, South Korea’s Hanwha Chemical, Honam Petrochemical and Samsung Total, Japan’s Sumitomo Chemical, Mitsui Dupont Polychemicals, China’s YPC-BASF, Beijing Organics and DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers, Singapore's The Polyolefins Co (TPC) and Thailand’s TPI Polene.

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections

By: Helen Lee
+65 6780 4359

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