Alpek expects Mexico PTA restart in four to eight weeks

19 July 2018 17:22 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Alpek estimates that it will be able to restart its Petrotemex purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant in four to eight weeks following a 15 July fire, CEO Jose Valdez said on the Mexican company’s second-quarter conference call on Thursday.

“We are leaning more toward the lower end of the range,” he said. “We are relatively optimistic that we can restart the plant in this 4-8 week period.”

Valdez confirmed that both 500,000 tonne/year lines are shut down.

The fire’s damage was largely contained to wiring, piping, valves and pumps, he said, adding that Alpek had most of the damaged parts on hand and that any parts it did not have it has been able to secure.

“Major equipment is in good shape, as well as the structures in the plant,” he said.

Alpek is working to mitigate the potential effect on customers. Valdez said that the PTA facility’s largest customer will align its maintenance shutdown with the outage and that Alpek will move up its planned shutdown for the PTA facility itself from the originally scheduled October.

“If we can accomplish this one-month objective, we will be able to help multiple customers not have a significant impact,” he said.

Sunday’s fire sent another shockwave through already tight downstream polyethylene terephthalate (PET) markets, which were beginning to gain a sense of reprieve as peak season winds down across the globe.

Participants expect some loss of material as a result of the fire, although impacts remain unclear at this point.

The plant supplies a number of PET resin plants in the Americas: the nearby M&G plant, DAK Americas' Pearl River site in Mississippi and various other plants in Mexico and South America. It also exports to European polyester producers.

Pictured above is Alpek's (Petrotemex) plant site in Altamira, Mexico. (Photo by Alpek)

By Amanda Hay