Japan's ethylene production capacity down in 2012

28 May 2012 17:01  [Source: ICIS news]

TOKYO (ICIS)--Japan’s total production capacity of ethylene in 2012 is predicted to fall by 6,000 tonnes/year to 7.21m tonnes, according to official data as of December 2011 released by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) on Monday.

Figures also showed that the country’s annual polypropylene (PP) capacity in 2012 will drop by 259,000 tonnes/year to 3.07m tonnes.

The figures are based on a survey the METI conducted of the country’s major chemical producers including Mitsubishi Chemical, Mitsui Chemicals, Asahi Kasei Chemicals, Idemitsu Kosan, Sumitomo Chemical, Keiyo Ethylene and Maruzen Petrochemical.

The survey focused on production capacities for 13 chemicals including polyethylene (PE), polystyrene (PS), styrene monomer (SM), vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and acrylonitrile (ACN).

Capacities of the plants which were shut when the survey was conducted at the end of December 2011, with no plans for restarts within a year, have been excluded from the figures, the METI said.

Ethylene production is expected to decrease in 2012 because Japan-based Mitsubishi Chemicals’ capacity in December declined by 6,000 tonnes/year to 1.21m tonnes from the same month in 2010, according to the data.

However, the METI did not state the reasons for this decline in Mitsubishi Chemicals’ output.

For PP, Ube Polypro, a subsidiary of Prime Polymer, permanently shut its 90,000 tonnes/year PP plant in Ube, Yamaguchi prefecture, in March 2011, the METI said, while the PP capacity of producer Japan Polypropylene fell by 169,000 tonnes/year, the data showed.

Japan’s total capacity of PS decreased by 45,000 tonnes/year to 861,000 tonnes/year as of December 2011 compared with 2010, while SM capacity dropped by 371,000 tonnes/year to 2.91m tonnes/year.

The decline in the SM capacity was because Mitsubishi Chemical has ended all production at its 371,000 tonne/year SM facility in Kashima in March 2011, the METI said.

The country’s VCM capacity fell by 941,000 tonnes/year to 2.57m tonnes/year as of December 2011, partly because V-Tech has permanently closed its 391,000 tonne/year VCM plant at Mizushima, Okayama prefecture, according to the ministry.

Japan’s PVC capacity fell by 110,000 tonnes/year to 2.01m tonnes/year, according to the data.

The METI also issued a separate data showing Japan’s current benzene, toluene and xylene (BTX) capacities.

The capacity of benzene decreased by 146,000 tonnes/year to 6.57m tonnes/year as of December 2011 from the previous year, while xylene capacity increased by 249,000 tonnes/year to 8.06m tonnes/year, the data showed.

Cosmo Oil has built a new 300,000 tonnes/year xylene plant at Yokkaichi, Mie prefecture, while Toa Oil has terminated production at its xylene plant, the METI said.

Bookmark John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s Asian Chemical Connections blog

By: Tomomi Yokomura
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