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Formosa suspends glycols plant construction in Texas

May 06/2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Construction on Nan Ya Plastics' 800,000 mt/year ethylene glycol plant in Texas has been suspended, and the company does not have a timeline to resume the work amid coronavirus pandemic uncertainty, reported S&P Global with reference to a spokesman's confirmation Tuesday.

"We are currently evaluating the schedule to resume construction on the new EG plant," Formosa Plastics USA spokesman Fred Neske said in an email. "A timeline is not yet available."

The new plant had been expected to come online in the third quarter of this year. Construction was halted in March.

Other companies that have suspended or slowed construction on large projects amid the pandemic include Shell at its new petrochemical complex in southwest Pennsylvania, NOVA Chemicals' new polyethylene (PE) plant and an ethylene expansion in Ontario and LyondellBasell's new propylene oxide/tertiary butyl alcohol facility near Houston.

The new glycols plant at Formosa's Point Comfort, Texas, complex will be owned by Nan Ya Plastics, a division of Formosa Plastics Group in Taiwan. Formosa Plastics Group also is Formosa Plastics USA's parent.

Nan Ya owns the complex's existing 370,000 mt/year glycols unit.

Neske also confirmed that 10 employees and seven contractors at the complex have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The infections are being addressed through testing, tracing and isolation, he said, and the contractors are following their own company protocols, including isolation.

The employees who tested positive worked at the same unit, which Neske declined to identify. He said production rates have not been reduced, nor have shifts been eliminated, and the company has been able to adjust to staffing issues with existing personnel.

A source familiar with company operations said the affected employees were affiliated with a cracker at the complex, and colleagues they may have been in contact with were also self-isolating. However, the company's ongoing turnaround at its 680,000 mt/year Olefins 1 unit allowed existing staff to cover shifts of isolating employees without affecting output, the source said.

As MRC reported before, Formosa Plastics' new 1.5 million mt/year cracker in Point Comfort, Texas, came online in H1 January, 2020, and was seen ramping up through January.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing PE and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 383,760 tonnes in the first two month of 2020, up by 14% year on year. High density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) shipments increased due to the increased capacity utilisation at ZapSibNeftekhim. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 192,760 tonnes in January-February 2020, down by 6% year on year. Homopolymer PP accounted for the main decrease in imports.

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).
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:PP, PE, LLDPE, homopolymer PP, propylene, HDPE, ethylene, Formosa, LyondellBasell, Nan Ya Plastics, Nova Chemicals, Russia, USA, Tayvan (Kitay).
Category:General News
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