25 October 2012 16:47 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Spain's Artenius is scheduled to start up its new 150,000 tonne/year polyethylene terephthalate (PET) Simpe plant at Acerra, Italy, in the first quarter of 2013, a company source said on Thursday.
"When we plan an investment, we are not looking for the next two months…It is very complicated in terms of costs so it makes sense to keep the strategy alive," the source said.
The plant, which is situated close to the port of Naples, is in commissioning and due to have marketable bottle grade PET in quarter one of next year, the source added.
This news comes at a time when European PET producers are having to deal with poor demand and expensive raw materials.
"With every bag of PET we may as well be giving away a €50 note," a second producer said, referring to freely negotiated pricing which is falling short of raw material hikes.
PET prices are at €1,240-1,300/tonne ($1,610-1,688/tonne) FD (free delivered) Europe, according to data from ICIS.
Paraxylene (PX) which feeds into PET's main feedstock purified terephthalic acid (PTA) has been on an upward spiral since July and some sources say it may increase slightly in November. October rolled over at €1,190/tonne FD NWE (northwest Europe).
Monoethylene glycol (MEG), PET's secondary feedstock, also increased over the same period and went up by €20/tonne to €1,095/tonne from September to October.
The situation has resulted in PET producers significantly reducing operating rates across Europe, according to industry players.
"Demand is really poor, despite European producers shutting down," a customer said.
Thailand-based Indorama Ventures had said it would be starting up its 200,000 tonne/year expansion in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, at the end of October, three months later than planned, but a 'small incident' has put back the full start-up of the plant.
The additional tonnes will bring the total nameplate capacity at the site to 390,000 tonnes/year.
Lotte Chemical UK is on the way to adding 200,000 tonnes/year of PET at its existing Wilton site in northeast England, by the end of the third quarter or beginning of the fourth quarter 2013. It currently has a nameplate capacity of 150,000 tonnes/year.
Uhde Inventa-Fischer has won a contract from India’s JBF Industries to build a 432,000 tonne/year polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plant at Geel, Belgium, the Germany-based chemical engineering firm said on 17 October.
As the market prepares for additional capacity in what is a depressed environment, PET buyers and sellers are speculating on who will survive 2013.
"Nobody says it is going to be easy," the source at Artenius said.
($1 = €0.77)
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