KMI took off-stream its methanol plant in Indonesia for unscheduled maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kaltim Methanol Industries (KMI) has shut its methanol plant in Indonesia, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Indonesia informed that the company has halted operations at its plant on December 20, 2015.

The unplanned outage has been attributed to a mechanical failure at the plant. The plant was under a maintenance turnaround for a period of around 6 weeks from mid-October 2015 till end-November 2015.

Located at Bontang in Indonesia, the plant has a production capacity of 660,000 mt/year.

As MRC wrote previously, in mid-August 2015, Petronas Chemicals, Malaysia’s state oil and gas company, shut its No. 2 methanol plant for maintenance turnaround. It remained off-stream for around 45 Days. Located at Labuan in Malaysia, the no. 2 methanol plant has a production capacity of 1.7 MMT/year.

We also remind that in October 2015, Mitsui & Co. announced that Fairway Methanol LLC, a 50-50 joint venture between Mitsui and US-based chemicals company Celanese, had commenced production of methanol at its planned annual production capacity of 1.3 million tons. In addition to access to reliable supplies of affordable gas feedstocks thanks to the US shale revolution, project officials also expect to benefit from the use of existing infrastructure belonging to Celanese situated in Pasadena, Texas.

Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp runs aromatics units at 90-100%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Taiwan’s major aromatics producer Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp (FCFC, part of Formosa Petrochemical) has been running its aromatics units at 90-100% operating rates since December 2015, a company source told TPS.

FCFC operates three aromatics units in Mai Liao, located in Taiwan’s northwestern Yunlin County.

Based on TPS data, FCFC’s No. 1 aromatics unit can produce 287,000 mt/year of PX, 213,000 mt/year of benzene and 80,000 mt/year of OX.

Its No. 2 aromatics unit can produce 573,000 mt/year of PX, 427,000 mt/year of benzene and 160,000 mt/year of OX.

Finally, the company’s No. 3 aromatics unit, which consists of a reformer and a TDP unit, is also able to produce 640,000 mt/year of benzene and 240,000 mt/year of orthoxylene (OX).

As MRC wrote before, Taipei- Formosa Plastics, also a subsidiary of Formosa Petrochemical, is considering construction of a plant in Louisiana to produce 1.2-million t/y of ethylene from shale gas.

Formosa Petrochemical is involved primarily in the business of refining crude oil, selling refined petroleum products and producing and selling olefins (including ethylene, propylene, butadiene and BTX) from its naphtha cracking operations. Formosa Petrochemical is also the largest olefins producer in Taiwan and its olefins products are mostly sold to companies within the Formosa Group. Among the company's chemical products are paraxylene (PX), phenyl ethylene, acetone and pure terephthalic acid (PTA). The company's plastic products include acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) resins, polystyrene (PS), polypropylene (PP) and panlite (PC).

Rayong Olefins operates Map Ta Phut-based aromatics units at full capacity

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Thailand’s Rayong Olefins has been running its aromatics units at 100% operating rates since it has restarted its cracker last week, a company source told TPS.

Rayong Olefins operates two aromatics units in Map Ta Phut, within Rayong Province where the country’s largest industrial park is located.

The company is able to produce about 360,000 mt/year of benzene and 156,000 mt of toluene from its Map Ta Phut-based aromatics units.

According to the source, the company does not have any plan for turnarounds in 2016. It is likely to have a scheduled turnaround for its aromatics units during Q1 2017.

As MRC informed previously, Rayong Olefins plans to shut its naphtha cracker at Map Ta Phut in December for two weeks. The cracker which is able to produce 400,000 mt/year of propylene and 800,000 mt/year of ethylene. It supplies feed stock to Thai Polyethylene which has the production capacity of 980,000 mt/year of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), 100,000 mt/year of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and 110,000 mt/year of linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE).

Rayong Olefins is a subsidiary of SCG Chemicals, one of the largest integrated petrochemical producers in Thailand which manufactures and supplies a full range of upstream and downstream petrochemical products, such as, ethylene, propylene, mixed C-4, benzene, and tulene which are supplied to downstream manufacturers of polyethylene and polypropylene.

Mitsui Chemicals participates in subsidiary of Taiwan Sentronic International Corp.

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsui Chemicals, Inc.announced it is financially participating in MSCT Corporation, a subsidiary of the electronic component trading company Sentronic International Corporation to promote business development of the Group’s metal resin integral molding technology, POLYMETAC, said the company on its site.

POLYMETAC is a cutting edge Mitsui Chemicals’ technology which allows bonding of metal and resins by a special surface processing proprietary process. In addition to its superior bonding strength, POLYMETAC technology allows significant weight reduction and reduction in component number thereby contributing to easier and simpler manufacturing processes. Mitsui Chemicals is expanding business development for applications of the strong bonding technology and has received high marks from customers for uses in electrical and electronic segments such as those related to smartphones and automotive applications.

Demand for luxury metal housing applications in the smartphone market has grown significantly, especially in China. As metal housing requires bonding of metal and resin parts, continued good growth is expected in surface processing technology markets. The investment in Sentronic’s subsidiary, which has a good foothold in China, will bolster Mitsui Chemicals’ expansion of POLYMETAC surface processing applications in the Chinese smartphone market.

As MRC informed earlier, Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. has celebrated the official launch of its new manufacturing and sales company for performance compounds, Mitsui Chemicals Functional Composites (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.

Mitsui Chemicals,a Japanese chemical company, is a part of the Mitsui conglomerate. The company has a turnover of around 15 billion USD and has business interests in Japan, Europe, China, Southeast Asia and the USA. The company mainly deals in performance materials, petro and basic chemicals and functional polymeric materials.

Sonoco investing USD7.1 million in German plastics plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sonoco Products Co. is spending millions on "increased production capacity and environmental efficiency" at a plastic consumer packaging plant near Leipzig, Germany, said Plasticsnews.

Sonoco Consumer Products Europe will make the USD7.1 million investment during the next year at its plant in Zwenkau, Sonoco said.

News of the investment comes as the company also said it will close rigid paper container manufacturing sites in Bunde in Northwest Germany and Hockenheim in Southwest Germany.

"While the planned closure of Bunde and Hockenheim 3 is a difficult decision, the capital to be spent in Zwenkau will turn our production site into one of the most efficient German plants in the industry," said Sean Cairns, general manager of Sonoco Consumer Products Europe, in a statement.

Sonoco said its European consumer packaging business is growing, but has experienced a recent significant decline in tobacco packaging due to changes in the European Tobacco Product Directive. That directive is aimed at limiting the appeal of tobacco.

Sonoco expects to begin investing in the plastic consumer packaging plant early next year and be completed with the improvements by the end of the year. Zwenkau has both injection molding and extrusion, according to Sonoco’s website.

Sonoco, based in Hartsville, S.C., has more than 70 sites in Europe and more than 330 locations around the world.

As MRC informed earlier, Sonoco commenced commercial production of rigid plastic containers for personal care products at its new USD15 million plant, located in the Beauty and Home Care campus in New Albany, Ohio.

Sonoco Plastics is a leading manufacturer of mono-layer and multi-layer blow-molded bottles and jars, thermoformed cups and trays and engineered molded and extruded containers, spools and trays. The Company has 25 plastics operations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, Netherlands and Germany. In addition to the Beauty Park facility, Sonoco Plastics operates a state-of-the-art food-grade, blow-molding and injection molding plant in Columbus, Ohio. The Company is currently reviewing plans for additional expansion of this facility as well.