Celanese says Singapore acetic acid plant restarted, running 24/7

29 January 2013 18:10  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A Celanese acetic acid plant in Singapore that was shut down and restarted twice last year is running again, company executives said on Tuesday.

Celanese CEO Mark Rohr said in a conference call that the 600,000 tonne/year plant was running, though he did not say when it restarted.

The company took down the Singapore unit in April 2012 because of oversupply problems in Asia. The plant was restarted a few weeks later, then was shut down again in July.

Oversupply problems in Asia remain, but Rohr said he believes acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) prices will turn up soon because values are rising for methanol, a major feedstock for acetic acid.

Acetic acid and VAM are Celanese’s flagship products. Declining sales and flat demand for those petrochemicals have been a drag on the company’s balance sheet.

Celanese this week reported flat Q4 earnings and a 7% decline in sales because of “continued trough-like demand for acetyl products and derivatives,” the company said on Monday.

Rohr fielded questions on Tuesday about Celanese’s planned methanol unit at its Clear Lake, Texas complex.

That unit’s estimated cost of $1bn (€740m) has prompted Celanese to look for a partner to share the cost, and Rohr said the company currently is negotiating with an unnamed party.

“We think we’ll be able shortly to talk about partnership,” Rohr said.

Major US acetic acid sellers include BP, Celanese and Eastman Chemical.

($1 = €0.74)

By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653

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