Green PE a boon for Braskem

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: April 5, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Suppliers, Sustainability, NPE 2012

ORLANDO, FLA. (April 5, 6:35 p.m. ET) — Brazilian resins giant Braskem SA is seeing continued growth with its sugar-based Green polyethylene ad also is advancing with joint venture expansion plans in Mexico.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Sao Paulo-based firm also is dealing with a polypropylene feedstocks supply issue while digesting the purchase of two separate PP businesses.

Green PE “is a very interesting niche product,” Braskem America chief executive officer Fernando Musa said in an interview at NPE 2012. “It’s been sold mostly into packaging markets. There’s a lot of demand in Asia, but demand in North America is growing as well.”

Braskem’s initial 440 million pound-capacity plant in Brazil already is operating at more than half of capacity, and the firm is studying a second plant there as well. A pilot plant making sugar-based Green PP also is in the works.

In Mexico, construction has begun on Ethylene XXI, a massive joint venture that when completed will have more than two billion pounds of annual capacity for high density and low density PE and a similar amount of capacity for ethylene feedstock. The project – a JV between Braskem and Mexican conglomerate Grupo Idesa SA de CV – is expected to create 3,000 permanent jobs.

Ethylene XXI is set to be operational in mid-2015, but Musa said that officials “are trying to make it sooner.”

Braskem’s big splash into the North American PP world has come in the last two years, when it’s bought the PP businesses of Sunoco Inc. and Dow Chemical Co., immediately making Braskem one of North America’s largest PP makers.

But that status hasn’t come without its challenges, since volatility in supplies of propylene monomer have sent PP pricing haywire, causing processors to look at other materials in some cases. On top of that, Braskem was dealt a blow when Sunoco in December closed a gasoline refinery in Marcus Hook, Pa., that had been supplying the Braskem PP plant there with propylene.

Braskem America commercial and supply vice president Robert Nadin said the situation in Marcus Hook isn’t as dire as it first appeared. Although Sunoco was the plant’s largest propylene supplier, it never supplied even half of the plant’s needs. Since the refinery closed, Braskem already has been contacted by several suppliers looking to fill the plant’s propylene requirements, Nadin said.

Longer-term, Nadin said that North American PP demand growth should rebound and average 2-3 percent for the next several years. “We’ll see strength in segments like automotive and packaging, where polypropylene is the material of choice,” he added.

Musa added that the amount of on-purpose propylene being made in North America “should increase drastically in just the next three years, which should improve the supply situation and hopefully reduce price volatility. He said Braskem currently has no plans to enter into on-purpose propylene production.

Braskem materials are being run by several companies at NPE 2012, including:

* Bekum America Corp. blow molding bottles using Green PE in Booth 2163.

* Davis Standard running Green PE on a cast film line in Booth 5945.

* BMB Spa injection molding high melt flow PP in Booth 323.

* Boy Machines Inc. molding PP in Booth 2819, demonstrating high clarity for eye glass frames.

* Milacron LLC is running clarified random copolymer PP to produce houseware lids in Booth 2803.


Comments

Green PE a boon for Braskem

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: April 5, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Dunkin' Donuts looking at PP to replace foam cups

September 19, 2014 3:22 pm ET

Dunkin' Donuts is testing a new polypropylene coffee cup that the company believes could help boost recycling.    More

Image

Hong Kong's TK eyes expansion, may buy Nypro Tool operation

September 19, 2014 2:49 pm ET

Hong Kong-based mold maker and plastics processor TK Group (Holdings) Ltd. said it's reached a tentative agreement to buy a tooling factory in...    More

Image

Foster building medical polymers plant

September 19, 2014 1:39 pm ET

Foster Delivery Science is investing $8 million in a new plant in Putnam, Conn., for production of medical polymer blends, as well as rods, film or...    More

Image

BP to restart damaged PTA unit in limited capacity by November

September 19, 2014 10:27 am ET

British Petroleum plc may restart its fire-damaged purified terephthalic acid (PTA) feedstock unit in South Carolina in late October or early...    More

Image

Bayer spinning off plastics business

September 18, 2014 8:49 am ET

Bayer AG will spin off its MaterialScience plastics group into a separate, publicly-traded company within the next 12 to 18 months.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook – North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events