Japan ascertains capacity to produce principal petchem products

Apr 14, 1998 02:00 AM

The Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) has released the results of a recent survey it conducted to ascertain the nation's capacity to produce principal petrochemical products.
As of December 31, 1997, the survey results suggest, Japan's capacity to supply ethylene during a regularly scheduled maintenance year reached 7.18 mm tpy, up 1.7 % from the year ago level and setting a new record.
The survey also found that in 1996 Japanese ethylene output supplied 41 % of Asia's total annual demand of 17.5 mm tons.
Three domestic ethylene producers enlarged capacity during the year. Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. boosted its capacity to 1,554,000 tpy (up 7.4 % from the end of maintenance year 1996), while Idemitsu Petrochemical Co. increased to 824,000 tpy (up 1.1 %) and Sanyo Petrochemical Co. debottlenecked to expand to 443,000 tpy (up 0.6 %). Capacity levels at the other 8 firms were unchanged.
In a year without plant shutdowns for regular maintenance, survey results indicate the nation's ethylene capacity would be 7,856,000 tons, representing a 1.7 % increase from the end of 1996.
As for derivatives, an upswing in domestic demand spurred 3 makers of L-LDPE and 4 PP makers to raise output by debottlenecking. Showa Denko K.K. bolstered its capacity by restarting previously idled facilities.
Polystyrene capacity, on the other hand, fell in 1997.
Asahi Chemical Industry Co.'s April scrapping of facilities at Kawasaki and expansion at Mizushima yielded a net decrease of 40,000 tpy.
In August, a scrapping of facilities accompanying the inauguration of Japan Polystyrene Inc. as a jointly funded enterprise between Mitsui Toatsu Chemicals, Inc. and Sumitomo Chemical Co. contributed to an overall PS capacity decline of 73,000 tpy.

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