A major but much delayed PET resin and feedstocks unit might finally be completed in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Materials maker Alpek SAB de CV of Mexico City commented on the project on an earnings call, April 26, according to consulting firm ICIS.
"Most likely, a decision will be taken during the next month … to sanction the project, if all of the shareholders are in agreement," CEO Jose de Jesus Valdez said. Alpek co-owns the site, along with Indorama Ventures of Thailand and Far Eastern New Century of Taiwan, through a joint venture named Corpus Christi Polymers.
Valdez added that the JV "has made significant progress on the project … [and] has a clear view of the costs going forward."
Each of the firms in the JV also owns existing North American PET production, including Alpek's DAK Americas unit. The JV acquired the Corpus Christi site for $1.1 billion in 2018.
When completed, the site is expected to be the largest single-line vertically integrated site making PET resin and PTA feedstock in the world and the largest PTA plant in the Americas. The site's annual PET production capacity will be 2.4 billion pounds, while its PTA output will be almost 2.9 billion pounds.
Under terms of the JV, each of the three partners has the right to receive one-third of the capacity of PTA and PET produced at the Corpus Christi plant. Each also will independently sell and distribute those materials.
Mossi Ghisolfi (M&G) Group had planned to have the site ready for an early 2016 launch, but financial difficulties led that Italian 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 27 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 February, Alpek acquired PET sheet maker and thermoformer Octal Holding of Oman for $620 million. Officials said at the time that the deal will expand Alpek's presence in the PET sheet and thermoforming industries, adding more than 2 billion pounds of annual capacity.