Metallocene action from Chinaplas

By Malini Hariharan

The fight for the metallocene market is heating up with South Korean producers increasingly looking at getting a share of this attractive market.

SK Corp confirmed plans to build a new metallocene linear-low density polyethylene (MLLDPE) plant outside Asia once a new plant in South Korea starts operations, writes the blog’s colleague Bee Lin from the Chinaplas exhibition at Guangzshou.

Possible locations for the new plant include the Middle East or South America where the company is involved in upstream projects in Peru and Colombia.

A plant in the Middle East would target Europe while a South American plant would be geared to meet US demand.

SK’s new swing plant in South Korea, due to start operations by 2013, will have the capacity to produce 230,000 tonne/year of C8 MLLDPE or 150,000-200,000 tonnes/year of elastomers.

And the company is looking to ship product out of Asia from this plant. A company source made it clear that buyers in European and US markets frustrated by high prices being charged by existing suppliers would welcome a new entrant.

Meanwhile, ExxonMobil confirmed its focus on MLLDPE and LLDPE at its Singapore operations. This includes an existing 600,000 tonnes/year plant and two new plants with a total capacity of 1.3m tonnes/year.

“All our reactors in Singapore will be capable of making metallocene products in the future, and so as our business grows, then we won’t be constrained to one reactor for metallocene and other reactors for other things,” said ExxonMobil polyolefins business unit vice president John Verity in an interview.

The company, however, would not give a precise date for start up and would only say that the new complex which includes a cracker the PE plants would be commissioned in phases.

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