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  Latest News  
  July 25,  2005
Volume 83, Number 30
p. 10
 

BUSINESS

  Mexican Companies' New Investments
One major project is in limbo, but others proceed
 

ALEX TULLO
   
 
 
READY, SET, DIG DAK Americas executives and local officials break ground on a new polyethylene terephthalate plant in Cape Fear, N.C.
READY, SET, DIG DAK Americas executives and local officials break ground on a new polyethylene terephthalate plant in Cape Fear, N.C.

DAK AMERICAS PHOTO

Mexico's Phoenix Project--an effort led by Mexico's national oil company Pemex to build an integrated ethylene complex--is in doubt, but that hasn't stopped other investment activity by local companies.

Mexico's Alpek is taking on two large projects in the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) chain: one in Mexico and another in North Carolina. And Nova Chemicals and Grupo Idesa, two potential partners in the Phoenix Project, are forming a Mexican polystyrene joint venture.

Alpek is building a 450,000-metric-ton-per-year purified terephthalic acid plant in Altamira, Mexico, scheduled to start up in early 2007. At the same time, the polyester business that Alpek purchased from DuPont in 2001--DAK Americas--is building a 200,000-metric-ton PET plant in Cape Fear, N.C.

Meanwhile, Nova and Idesa are forming a 50-50 polystyrene joint venture called Novidesa, which will start operations in September. The partnership will focus on expandable polystyrene (EPS) but will also distribute Nova's solid polystyrene in Mexico.

Nova will contribute technology, solid polystyrene, and, potentially, styrene to the joint venture. Idesa will contribute its existing EPS business and will manufacture for the venture through a tolling arrangement. Its Apizaco, Mexico, solid polystyrene facility will be converted to make EPS. Nova is forming a similar polystyrene joint venture in Europe with BP.

Nova and Idesa are also partners with Pemex and polypropylene producer Indelpro in the Phoenix Project. Feedstock contracts have emerged as an obstacle, however. Nova has said it seeks the same sort of feedstock cost advantage it enjoys in Alberta, a requirement that Pemex may not be able to meet.

The local press quotes sources within the Mexican government as saying the project may be canceled or changed. "We have not received any word regarding the status of the project from Pemex," a Nova spokeswoman says.

 
     
  Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2005
 


 
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