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Mitsubishi Chemical to announce MMA project on US Gulf Coast

February 11/2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsubishi Chemical plans to announce details in the first quarter of 2020 of a methyl methacrylate (MMA) project on the US Gulf Coast, reported Chemweek with reference to Christine Frederic, manager/direct procurement at Lucite International, a Mitsubishi Chemical group company.

Frederic said the MMA plant would have a capacity of 250,000Ц350,000 metric tons/year and be located between Houston, Texas, and Geismar, Louisiana. Start-up would most likely be in 2024, Frederic said. She disclosed no other details of the project, including the technology it will use.

Demand for MMA currently totals about 3.8 million metric tons/year and there is a worldwide surplus of MMA capacity of 500,000 metric tons/year, which is expected to shrink to 250,000 metric tons in 2023, according to IHS Markit. North America has a net deficit in MMA, which will increase through 2023. Northeast Asia and the Middle East have large surpluses of MMA, which are shipped to other regions, IHS Markit says.

The US is set to become a net exporter of methanol, a key raw material for MMA, in 2020, according to IHS Markit. Lucite developed the Alpha MMA technology, which consumes large volumes of methanol, as well as ethylene and carbon monoxide. A 350,000-metric tons/year Alpha plant consumes 273,000 metric tons/year of methanol, Frederic said.

Mitsubishi has been considering a new MMA plant on the US Gulf Coast for some time. The company signed a memorandum of understanding with Mitsui & Co. in 2014 for a joint venture to build a 250,000-metric tons/year MMA unit, under a deal that included a possible feedstock/product swap with Dow Chemical.

As MRC reported earlier, Dow plans to install a new furnace in its steam cracker at Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada, increasing its ethylene capacity, currently 1.42 million metric tons/year (MMt/y), by 130,000 metric tons/year.

The principal application, consuming approximately 75% of the MMA, is the manufacture of polymethyl methacrylate acrylic plastics (PMMA). Methyl methacrylate is also used for the production of the co-polymer methyl methacrylate-butadiene-styrene (MBS), used as a modifier for polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

According to MRC's DataScope report, exports of suspension polyvinyl chloride (SPVC) from Russia totalled 193,700 tonnes in 2019, up by 11% year on year. Imports increased more significantly - by 217% year on year - to 50,900 tonnes.

Mitsubishi Chemical with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, is a diversified chemical company involved in petrochemicals, polymers, agrochemicals, speciality chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The company's main focus is on three business pillars: petrochemicals, performance and functional products, and health care.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:PVC, SPVC, ethylene, MMA (metilmetakrilat), petrochemistry, MMA (metilmetakrilat), Dow, Mitsubishi Chemical, Canada, Russia, USA.
Category:General News
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