The closure of Alpek SAB de CV's Cooper River PET resin plant in Charleston, S.C., is an effort to "optimize" its footprint, and customers will continue to receive material from other Alpek PET production assets, a company spokesman says.
"We are optimizing all these assets with the shutdown of the Cooper River PET operations," he added. "There are multiple sites that will be involved, and not just one inheriting the products from Cooper River."
Alpek, based in Monterrey, Mexico, announced the closure on March 1. The site was built in the early 1970s, and has annual production capacity of about 375 million pounds, about 2 percent of Alpek's total assets.
Transferring production will enable annual cost reductions of about $20 million through improvements in capacity utilization.
The Cooper River plant operates as part of Alpek's DAK Americas unit. In an email to Plastics News, the Alpek spokesman said that supply needs will be sourced from across all Alpek Polyester PET production assets.
According to the state Department of Employment and Workforce, the plant closure impacted 125 jobs.
Alpek is a partner in Corpus Christi Polymers LLC, a joint venture that's building a major PET resin and feedstocks plant in Corpus Christi, Texas. After a lengthy hiatus, work on that site resumed in August.
The other partners in the project are PET makers Indorama Ventures of Thailand and Far Eastern New Century of Taiwan. Production is set to begin in 2025 at the plant, which will have annual production capacity of 2.4 billion pounds of PET and 2.9 billion pounds of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) feedstock.
Officials have said the Corpus Christi site will be the largest vertically integrated PET-PTA production plant in the Americas. The JV was formed in 2018 following the $1.1 billion purchase of a partially constructed facility from M&G Group of Italy. Each partner will procure its own raw materials and receive one-third of the PTA and PET produced at the facility to sell and distribute independently.