Jul 18 2022
Construction on a major polyethylene terephthalate complex in Texas will resume in August after a pause of nearly five years, Mexico's Alpek and Thailand's Indorama Ventures said July 18.
Alpek, Indorama, and their partner—Taiwan's Far Eastern New Century—expect to bring the complex online in early 2025.
The complex near Corpus Christi, Texas, includes a 1.1 million mt/year PET unit and a 1.3 million mt/year upstream purified terephthalic acid facility. The partners bought the complex out of M&G Chemical's bankruptcy in 2018 after M&G halted construction in October 2017.
The partners repeatedly delayed a final investment decision on the project while evaluating costs. Alpek CEO Jose de Jesus Valdez said in April that the partners had a "very clear definition" of costs going forward. Indorama said July 18 that throughout pandemic-related disruptions. the partners "firmly resolved to continue planning amid continued robust demand for PET packaging and the need for shorter supply chains."
They had previously expected the PET plant to be completed first, followed by the PTA unit a year later. The schedule, announced July 18, has both plants completed by early 2025.
The partnership, dubbed Corpus Christi Polymers LLC, will function as an independent tolling company in which each partner will procure its own raw materials and will receive one-third of PTA and PET produced at the site. Each partner also will sell and distribute that output independently of each other.
Each partner will be responsible for producing 367,000 mt/year of PET and 433,000 mt/year of PTA.
"The strategic location on the US Gulf Coast will facilitate competitive raw material procurement and distribution cost, as well as scalability across Alpek's sites in the Americas," Alpek said.
The US is a net PET importer, and the new complex will reduce import needs, but not eliminate them. The latest data from the US International Trade Commission showed that the US imported nearly 2.25 million mt of PET in the first five months of 2022, up 43% from nearly 1.57 million mt in the year-ago period. Annual imports in 2021 reached nearly 4.39 million mt, up from 3 million mt in 2019, the data showed.
PET is used to make plastic bottles and polyester fiber, and PTA is its immediate precursor.
US subsidiaries of each partner make up Corpus Christi Polymers. Those are DAK Americas, a subsidiary of Alpek; Indorama Ventures Corpus Christi Holdings; and APG Polytech USA Holdings, a subsidiary of Far Eastern New Century.