EPCA '19: Roehm to build 250,000 tonne/year MMA plant in US Gulf Coast, start-up by 2024

Author: Katherine Sale

2019/10/08

BERLIN (ICIS)--Roehm is mulling the construction of a 250,000 tonne/year methyl methacrylate (MMA) plant in the US Gulf Coast, according to sources.

The plant is expected to use Roehm’s branded ethylene-based Lima technology.

The plant would start up in 2023 or 2024.

Sources said that the new plant could potentially replace Roehm’s existing Fortier plant, west of New Orleans.

The investment would allow the producer to benefit from significant cost advantages by using the ethylene-based method, the sources added.

Roehm was not immediately available for comment at the time of writing.

The sources were speaking on the sidelines of the European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) annual conference.

This is the second investment mulled in the US MMA market recently.

Several sources at EPCA also said that Lucite International, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Chemical (MCC), is planning to build a 350,000 tonne/year facility in the US, with expected start-up date for 2023.

Lucite plans to use its branded ethylene-based Alpha ethylene based technology.

If the two plants are finally built, the combined output could shift MMA global trade flows as they would make the US a net exporter, with Asia as the targeted destination.

Following the sale of Evonik’s methacrylate’s business to Advent earlier this year, and the creation of Roehm as an independent company, the MMA market has been expecting an investment announcement.

Nearly all MMA is polymerised to make homopolymers and copolymers, the largest application being the casting, moulding or extrusion of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) or modified polymers.

The EPCA annual meeting runs in Berlin on 6-9 October.

Pictured: MMA plant operated by Roehm in Shanghai
Source: Evonik