Alpek and its partners could decide in May whether to move ahead with a joint-venture polyethylene terephthalate complex in Texas, CEO Jose de Jesus Valdez said April 26.
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"We are reviewing the status of the project. Significant progress has been made," he said during the company's Q1 2022 earnings call. "Most likely a decision will be taken during the next month, May – let's say May, probably, to sanction the project if all of the shareholders are in agreement."
The project involves a 1.1 million mt/year PET plant and an upstream 1.3 million mt/year purified terephthalic acid unit. Mexico City-based Alpek, Thailand's Indorama Ventures and Taiwan's Far Eastern New Century bought the unfinished project out of M&G Chemical's bankruptcy in 2018 after M&G halted construction in October 2017.
The partners have repeatedly delayed a final investment decision on the project while evaluating costs. Valdez said the partners "have a very clear definition of the investment cost going forward" and he saw a "very high probability" of committing to finishing the complex with capital spending commitments for up to 2.5 years.
Alpek reported net income of $229 million in the quarter, up 89% from $121 million in the year-ago quarter.
Valdez said he saw tight PET supply globally, though US demand would continue to be met with domestic production and imports. The US is a net PET importer, with about 4.78 million mt/year of domestic capacity supplemented by imports. The US imported nearly 4.4 million mt of PET in 2021, according to US International Trade Commission data.
Valdez said he expected PET demand to remain stable for the rest of 2022.
He also said the USITC in March extended antidumping duties on PET originating in China, India, Oman and Canada for another five years, giving US producers certainty that imports would not be cheaper than US-origin material. Record-high freight rates, largely from Asia, have increased import PET costs for more than a a year.
The duties were imposed in 2016 and USITC initiated a review in April 2021.
PET is used to make plastic bottles and polyester fiber.