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M&G Picks Sinopec To Build Polyester Plant

Billion dollar project in Texas unites several foreign partners

by Marc S. Reisch
January 17, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 3

Italy’s Mossi & Ghisolfi has hired China’s Sinopec Engineering Group to manage construction of the bottle polymer plant it is planning in Corpus Christi, Texas. The $1 billion project has become a platform for several foreign companies to expand in the U.S.

Two non-U.S. banks will fund the massive project, making it entirely financed, built, and owned by foreign firms. The banks are Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, which claims to be the world’s largest bank, and Mexico’s Banco Inbursa.

The plant, which will take advantage of low-cost U.S. shale gas, will be built over the next three years. It will have annual capacity for 1 million metric tons of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin and 1.2 million metric tons of the feedstock purified terephthalic acid.

“This is the largest PET investment ever in the Western world,” says Marco Ghisolfi, CEO of M&G’s polymers business. When completed, the project will make M&G the leading U.S. polyester producer after Mexico’s DAK and Thailand’s Indorama.

The project will allow Sinopec Engineering, a subsidiary of the Chinese-government-owned petroleum and petrochemical giant Sinopec Group, to extend its reach beyond Asia. Sinopec Engineering Group CEO Yan Shaochun calls the contract “a big milestone for entering the North American market.”

“This project is a nice way for Sinopec Engineering to show what it can do in North America,” says Chase Willett, senior director of aromatics at consulting firm IHS Chemical.


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