The largest petrochemical plant in Latin America is just about set to begin operating in Nanchital, Veracruz.
The US $5.2-billion joint venture project of petrochemical companies Grupo IDESA of Mexico and Braskem of Brazil, Proyecto Etileno XXI will address a shortfall in the domestic supply of polyethylene, an important product for pipes and conduit in the construction industry, pharmaceutical bottles and equipment and food containers.
Over 65% of domestic demand for polyethylene is met by imports. The new factory will replace about 1.3 million tonnes of that, representing about 75% of the total.
Using natural gas-based ethane, it will produce between 1 million and 1.5 million tonnes of polyethylene annually and employ about 300 people.
Braskem-IDESA says the plant will not only have a big impact on Mexico’s trade balance, but on the plastics sector as well, where more investments are expected as a result.
“The petrochemical industry is a path for economic development and urbanization. The Mexican southeast has the opportunity to evolve thanks to this development,” said Cleantho Leithe, the venture’s business development director.
Etileno XXI is located in a region with a high potential for new reserves of oil and gas.
Construction began four years ago and the plant, initially scheduled to begin operating in 2015, is now expected to be operational during this quarter.