TOKYO -- Mitsubishi Chemical
will partner with Dow Chemical to build an industrial complex
in the US that uses shale gas, the Nikkei reported in
its Sunday morning edition.
The Japanese company plans to set up an
acrylic resin-processing plant next to one of the world's
largest ethylene plants the US company is set to build in
Texas. The two companies aim to use the cheaper, new natural
gas to mass-produce value-added chemical products.
North America is thought to have rich deposits
of shale gas. Some estimates show that producing ethylene from
North American shale gas cost only one-twentieth of that of
production at chemical plants in Japan. Major global petrochemical companies are moving
to build plants in the US, signalling that price competition
for resin products may further intensify.
Dow Chemical plans to spend about 330 billion
yen to build a huge plant that uses shale gas to produce 1.5
million tpy of ethylene in the Texas city of Freeport.
The company is looking to start operating the plant in 2017.
Mitsubishi Chemical, meanwhile, will set up its own plant that
will use lower-priced ethylene supplied by Dow Chemical. The
two companies will cooperate in creating this new industrial
Mitsubishi Chemical will spend about 50-60
billion yen to build its new plant, which will be capable of
producing 250,000 million tpy of acrylic resin materials,
making it one of the largest in the world.
Acrylic resin has properties such as high
transparency, and is used in liquid display panels, auto lamps
as well as construction materials.
The market for acrylic resin, including its raw materials, is
valued at around 1 trillion yen globally. Demand will likely
expand for the material in emerging countries in Central and
South America, Asia and Africa.