Celanese sees prolonged acetyls tightness; increased capacity to take several years

Anna Matherne

28-Jan-2022

HOUSTON (ICIS)–The global tightness seen in the acetyls chain, which includes acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM), is likely to continue for several more years, Celanese’s CEO Lori Ryerkerk said in the company’s Q4 earnings call.

“I would say the entirety of the chain is pretty tight right now. Just look at utilisation. Acetic acid has been pretty close to 100%. Now that did moderate a little bit in the fourth quarter but still 85-90% utilisation in acetic acid,” Ryerkerk said.

She added that VAM has been around 100% utilisation for some time now. And this could hold through Q1 as there are some turnarounds and maintenance planned, particularly in China.

“We see that being about the same this quarter and you know maybe tightening a little bit as we go through the year. I think VAM is going to continue to be very tight,” she said. “We’ve announced some expansions in VAM and there’s been a few other ones, but I think the demand in VAM continues to grow quite rapidly.”

Aside from the US acetyls producer’s Clear Lake, Texas, acetic expansion that is expected to come online in 2023, any new major expansions will take several years to be completed.

“I think these markets will all continue to be very tight for the next […] at least 4-5 years,” Ryerkerk said.

Thumbnail shows wood adhesive, which is often made with VAM. Image by Shutterstock

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