Editorial

Corpus Christi: A game-changer for the polyester chain

With the new Corpus Christi plant coming online, organisations in the PTA and PET markets are aware that change is expected. However, the impact of these changes and the realisation that they will span the entire polyester chain is less understood.

The recent announcement that the Corpus Christi plant has been bought by a 3-way joint venture adds a new dimension to the scenario. The arrangement among  Alpek, Indorama and FENC suggests the 3 parties will use the plant as a tolling plant; each buying and selling feedstocks and PET resin output. This adds a layer of complexity that will likely impact on delivery of the project, which has implications for all players in the market.

North American PET resin supply/demand overview: 2015-2021

Source: Wood Mackenzie Chemicals

Major change expected across the value chain

On the PTA side, after a long period where BP dominated the merchant PTA market in North America, the outlook is for a much more diverse supply of PTA, particularly after the integrated plant is completed.

The North American MEG market is also on the cusp of a major revolution with a significant number of new ethylene plants coming on stream utilising cheap natural gas from shale fracking. This makes  the regional MEG market one of the cheapest cost producers in the world.

Anti-dumping and countervailing duties effect trade

The growing number of  polyester anti-dumping and countervailing duties is changing the regional trade dynamics for PET and fibre which will have major implications for the domestic industry over the forecast period.

The impact of recycling in North America

Sustainability issues and RPET usage is growing, with the usage of chemical recycling likely to increase under the pressure from brand owners. Considering that North America remains one of the countries with the lowest recovery records globally – the impact seen in this region will be huge.

The North American polyester landscape

Wood Mackenzie Chemicals has released a new study that considers these changes and reviews the potential impact across the full value chain from crude oil, to paraxylene, PTA, MEG, down to the major polyester markets and  through to recycling. The North American Polyester Landscape Study answers the following questions:

  • What are the practical implications businesses need to consider with the start up of the new PET/PTA plant and what timings are expected?
  • What changes can the market expect from the new joint venture with Alpek, Indorama and FENC?
  • How will the new PET resin plant affect the upstream raw material market in the North America?
  • What impacts do we expect to see through the polyester fibre chain, specifically PET imports, PTA trade and anti-dumping, from 2018-2022?
  • How will recycling develop in North America with the new plant coming online, especially given that it’s currently not a big focus in the region?
  • What are the cost structures in context for PET and PTA, and what are the implications for raw materials?

To receive an extract from the study, please complete the form on this page.