Nippon Shokubai considers restarting SAP unit at Chattanooga

01 November 2012 09:22  [Source: ICIS news]

TOKYO (ICIS)--Japan’s Nippon Shokubai is considering of restarting its discarded super absorbent polymer (SAP) facility at Chattanooga, Tennessee, to help cover for the loss of production following the shutdown of its fire-hit Himeji plant, a company official said on Thursday.

The 60,000 tonne/year SAP facility, previously run by Nippon Shokubai’s Tennessee-based subsidiary NA Industries, terminated production in June 2012 because of its old age when NA Industries brought on stream a new 60,000 tonne/year SAP unit in Houston, Texas.

Nippon Shokubai is mulling if any construction is needed to restart the unit, and how much it may cost, the official said on the phone.

However, the producer has not reached a final decision, he said.

Nippon Shokubai also plans to start up part of the 90,000 tonne/year SAP facility that it is currently constructing in Indonesia by March 2013 for the same reason, the official said.

The company’s plan is to begin commercial production with a 30,000 tonne/year capacity by March 2013, and the remaining capacity will be achieved in August 2013 as scheduled, according to the official.

“It is in line with our original plan because we first announced in July 2010 to build a 30,000 tonne/year [SAP] facility [in Indonesia] by March 2013. And demand for SAP became robust after that, so we decided to expand it to 90,000 tonnes/year for a start-up in August 2013.

But we would like to start [commercial production of 30,000 tonnes/year] as soon as possible [to make up for the loss of production following the shutdown of the Himeji plant],” the official said.

All of the production lines at the Himeji plant, including 320,000 tonne/year SAP and 460,000 tonne/year acrylic acid (AA) facilities, are still shut after the blast which killed a worker one month ago, according to the official.

The official said the company did not know when they may be able to restart the Himeji plant.

By: Tomomi Yokomura
+65 6780 4359

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