US plant delays/idling: Indorama pauses work on PTA/PET plant in Texas; Braskem shuts down PP line at Marcus Hook plant

Indorama pauses work on PTA/PET plant in Texas

Thailand-based integrated chemical producer Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL) says it has decided, along with its Corpus Christi Polymers (CCP) joint venture partners, to temporarily pause construction at its partly completed integrated PTA-PET plant in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The decision was taken to manage the challenging environment related to cost inflation, high interest rates, and labour shortages, it added in a statement.

Upon completion in 2025, the plant was expected to produce 1.1 million tonnes/year and 1.3 million tonnes/year of PET and PTA, respectively.

The partnership will also evaluate possible ways to what it says is “efficiently prioritise or phase completion of the plant, maximise use of invested capital, and minimise excess expenditures to provide an efficient and competitive supply solution to customers”.

Indorama Ventures and its joint venture partners will also continue to assess options to optimise the project.

The partners expect to fund costs required to preserve and maintain CCP’s assets in preparation for the resumption of construction. In the interim, Indorama Ventures will continue to meet the demand from its customers from its network of local and overseas capabilities.

CCP was formed in 2018 as a joint venture between Indorama Ventures Corpus Christi Holdings, a subsidiary of Indorama Ventures; APG Polytech USA Holdings, a subsidiary of Far Eastern New Century, and Alpek Polyester USA, a subsidiary of Alpek S.A.B. de C.V., following the purchase of an unconstructed PTA-PET facility of M&G Resins in Corpus Christi.

It had last year resumed construction of its integrated project, following a previous halt to development activities amid pandemic-related disruptions.

Braskem shuts down PP line at Marcus Hook plant

In other news, Brazilian petchem firm Braskem says it will be idling one of its polypropylene (PP) production lines at its Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, plant.

The plant's two production lines have combined capacity of around 455,000 tonnes/year. The company did not provide information on which line was being shut, or how long it would be shut.

The closure will result in a limited reduction of workforce at the plant, the company said.

Marcus Hook plant is one of the oldest PP plants in the US and it has feedstock limitations.

The PP market has been weak in the US for much of 2023, and new capacity that started up at the end of last year in Canada and the US has created an oversupply, according to market reports.

Sources said the Marcus Hook site has faced feedstock constraints since the shutdown in 2019 of Philadelphia Energy Solutions' 330,000 b/d refinery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Braskem in January 2022 said it had successfully completed the first propylene import in more than a decade to the US east coast as part of an effort to enhance feedstock options for the Marcus Hook PP plant. It is not clear whether the company has continued to import propylene to feed the facility, according to reports.

In 2011, Braskem became one of the largest PP producers in the US when it purchased Dow's PP business. That purchase included Texas plants in Freeport and Seadrift, increasing Braskem's PP capacity by 50% in the US.

Even with the closure of one of the Marcus Hook units, Braskem will still be one of the largest PP producers in the US, with a slight reduction in capacity in the US from around 2 million tonnes/year of capacity to around 1.8 million tonnes/year of capacity, according to an Argus Media report database.


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