APLA '13: Mexico Ethylene XXI to open during tight PE market

18 November 2013 22:31 Source:ICIS News

CARTAGENA, Colombia (ICIS)--Braskem Idesa's Ethylene XXI project should start operations at a time of tight supplies, allowing it to reach full capacity fairly quickly, a consultant said on Monday.

The Ethylene XXI complex is expected to include a 1.05m tonne/year ethane cracker, two high density polyethylene (HDPE) plants with capacities of 350,000 tonnes/year and 400,000 tonnes/year, as well as one 300,000 tonne/year low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant.

Braskem owns a 75% stake in the project, with Mexico-based Grupo Idesa owning the rest.

Ethylene XXI is on track to start operations in the second half of 2015, giving it a head start of up to two years against the other new resin plants that are being developed in the US, Bauman said. Moreover, the plant will come online when the PE market will likely be tight, he said.

"They should achieve high operating rates fairly quickly," Bauman said.

However, once Ethylene XXI starts operations, Mexico will not have enough ethane for another new cracker.

However, it could have enough to expand its existing ethylene plants by up to 300,000 tonnes/year, said Carlos Pani, senior vice president of sales and market for the petrochemicals division of Pemex.

If Pemex expands ethylene capacity, then it could use the monomer as feedstock for new ethylene oxide (EO)/ethylene glycol (EG) capacity that it could develop through a joint venture with a domestic company, Pani said.

If Pemex did have enough ethane to expand its crackers, then that would indicate that the Ethylene XXI complex would have enough feedstock to run at 100% capacity, Bauman said.

The APLA complex runs through Tuesday.

Additional reporting by Joseph Chang

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By Al Greenwood