After a lengthy hiatus, work will resume in August on a major PET resin and feedstocks plant in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Corpus Christi Polymers LLC — a partnership between materials firms Indorama Ventures of Thailand, Far Eastern New Century of Taiwan and Alpek SAB de CV of Mexico — will finish the plant, with production set to begin in 2025, Indorama officials said in a news release.
The new production "will ensure continued cost-competitive production to support the growth of [Indorama's] global PET operations into the next decade," officials added. The plant will have annual production capacity of 2.4 billion pounds of PET and 2.9 billion pounds of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) feedstock.
Officials said the site will be the largest vertically integrated PET-PTA production plant in the Americas and will be Indorama's largest U.S. greenfield project since opening a PET unit in Decatur, Ala., in 2009.
CCP 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.
Officials said that through the COVID-19 pandemic, CCP's partners "firmly resolved to continue planning amid continued robust demand for PET packaging and the need for shorter supply chains."
CCP also is adding to its leadership team. Indorama executive Russell Wilson has been named CEO, with Michael Day joining as project director and Jeff Shea being named chief operating officer.
"We welcome the resumption of construction at the (CCP) facility and look forward to working with our partners towards full production," Indorama PET Executive President Sanjay Ahuja said. "As we moved past the pandemic's peak, conditions improved to the point where our firm resolve can now be rewarded."
"Our customers, many of them global household brands, are encouraged as the [CCP] facility adds significantly to our reach and our U.S. coverage in particular," PET business head Muthukumar Paramasivam added.
Alpek officials had mentioned the possibility of a restart on an April earnings call. M&G had planned to have the site ready for an early 2016 launch, but financial difficulties led that firm to file for bankruptcy in 2017. In a bankruptcy filing at the time, M&G said that cost overruns in Corpus Christi resulted from design and technical problems, weather delays, missed deadlines and cost projections and delays in equipment delivery.
North American PET demand has remained strong because of high demand for bottled water and improving demand for carbonated soft drinks, which had been in decline for more than a decade before growing in 2021. That demand, combined with supply constraints and other logistics challenges, has sent regional PET prices up an average of 32 cents per pound since Jan. 1. Prices for the material increased a total of 26 cents in 2021.
Alpek is a leading global supplier of PET and PTA. In North America, the firm owns and operates DAK of Charlotte, N.C., as well as Mexican polypropylene maker Indelpro. Alpek also is a leading supplier of expandable polystyrene and recycled PET in the Americas.
In addition to Decatur, Indorama has North American PET operations in North Carolina, South Carolina and Mexico. FENC's North American operations include a PET recycling plant in Bowling Green, Ohio.