Celanese Saudi polyacetal plant comes on stream

Celanese has successfully started up its joint venture polyacetal plant in Saudi Arabia, having completed performance runs for all polyacetal grades and achieved full production rates. The 50,000 metric tonne per annum POM manufacturing facility is located in Jubail Industrial City.

POM is used widely in the automotive and office automation equipment markets on account of its low noise and high stiffness, among other traits.

The new plant takes global capacity for the resin to 1,734,000 tonnes annually. Next year, a net 15,000 tonnes/yr of capacity will be added through the addition of 70,000 tonnes/yr of capacity in South Korea at a joint venture of BASF and Kolon Plastics, with BASF shuttering 55,00 tonnes/yr of capacity in Germany. While this world-scale plant in South Korea is part of an effort to remain competitive amidst an onslaught of new capacity in China, the Celanese joint venture in Saudi Arabia would appear to be taking advantage of favorable feedstock costs. The polyacetal facility will utilize methanol as feedstock which is produced internally at Ibn Sina.

POM demand was estimated at around 1.13 million tonnes globally in 2017. Key markets include automotive, electrical and electronic, and industrial machinery

Upon successful startup of the polyacetal facility, Celanese’s economic interest in Ibn Sina has increased from 25 percent to a total of 32.5 percent. Ibn Sina is a joint venture between SABIC and CTE, a company jointly owned by subsidiaries of Celanese and Duke Energy. Celanese, SABIC and Duke Energy entered into the Ibn Sina joint venture in 1981. Construction of the polyacetal facility is part of an extension of the Ibn Sina joint venture. Subsidiaries of Celanese and Duke Energy each currently hold a 25 percent ownership interest in the joint venture, with the remaining 50 percent held by SABIC.

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