JAPAN: Mitsui Chemicals discloses closures related to business restructuring

A 60,000-t/y diphenylmethane diisocyanate plant at the Omuta Works site in Japan will also be closed and disposed of by 31 Dec. After the shutdown at Kashima, production of specialty isocyanates will be shifted to Omuta.

Mitsui Chemicals and Idemitsu Kosan's Chiba Phenol joint venture will close its 250,000-t/y phenol plant in Ichihara, Japan, on 30 Sept. 2014.

"Sales slumps in domestic phenol and deterioration in export profitability, due to oversupply from new facilities in Asia, compelled the two companies to reduce production and realign operations," Mitsui said.

After the closure of the facility, Mitsui will meet Idemitsu's phenol needs by providing in-house produced phenol.

Chiba Phenol is owned 55 % by Mitsui and 45 % by Idemitsu. The joint venture also produces 80,000 t/y of acetone at the site.

Additionally, a 90,000-t/y bisphenol-A plant at Ichihara will cease production and be disposed of by 31 Mar. 2014.

"This plan will resolve the demand and supply gaps in domestic business and improve profitability," Mitsui explained, adding that a new joint venture plant with Sinopec, starting from May 2015, will cover suspension of exports from Japan.

In 2012, Mitsui announced plans with Sinopec to build a 75,000-t/y ethylene propylene diene terpolymer plant that was expected to begin commercial operations in the first quarter of 2014. The partners also disclosed plans in 2012 for a 332,500-t/y cumene plant that would be integrated with a 250,000-t/y phenol plant that was completed this past December. The three projects are located in Shanghai, China.

Source: Weekly "PetroChemical News", Durham, NC, USA; 10 Feb 2014
(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)