Chinaplas 2013: Low-cost shale gas gives North American polyamide ascendency in global markets

The benefits of the shale gas boom in North America have filtered down to polyamide (PA) 66 producer Ascend Performance Materials (Houston, TX). Low-cost propylene derived from shale gas is now being used by the supplier to manufacture the key adiponitrile (AND) precursor, and then PA in an integrated manner, meaning it is cheaper to ship resin from North America to markets such as China than it is to ship the intermediates.

Furthermore, "The [feedstock] price forecast is stable in the long term, which is an attractive proposition for our customers," says Philip Jeszke, Global Auto Segment Leader, Plastics, at Ascend. Jeszke was speaking to PlasticsToday at the recent Chinaplas show in Guangzhou.

The company's compounding sites for PA 66 resin include Foley, AL and Pensacola, FL (combined 45,000 tonnes/yr capacity), a toll compound arrangement in Belgium (12,500 tonnes/yr), and Shanghai also through compounding (18,000 tonnes/yr)....

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