EXXONMOBIL has agreed to buy Jurong Aromatics’ (JAC) world-scale aromatics plant in Singapore.
The plant is one of the largest in the world with a production capacity of 1.4m t/y. Jurong Island in Singapore is home to ExxonMobil’s largest integrated refining and petrochemical complex, which has a crude oil processing capacity of 592,000 bbl/d and two steam crackers.
The acquisition of JAC’s operations will increase ExxonMobil’s aromatics production in Singapore to more than 3.5m t/y, of which 1.8m t/y is paraxylene.
The combination will benefit both JAC’s operations and those of ExxonMobil, said ExxonMobil’s regional managing director Gan Seow Kee: “Integration of this aromatics plant with ExxonMobil’s existing manufacturing facility will provide product and logistical synergies that will enable our continued growth and competitiveness.”
JAC’s plant has had a troubled history since it began operations in 2014. Five months after it started up, technical issues forced the plant to shutdown and it remained out of operation for around 18 months. In September 2015 in the midst of this break in production, JAC, struggling to pay off debts in the wake of a commodity collapse, went into receivership. The plant has since resumed operations, starting up again in July last year.
The value of the deal has not been disclosed, though the Korea Herald reported earlier this year that ExxonMobil had outbid Lotte Chemical for the plant with a bid of US$1.7bn.
Global demand for chemical products is expected to climb over the next decade by around 4% per year, which is a faster pace than energy demand and economic growth, ExxonMobil said in a statement announcing the deal. Nearly three-quarters of the increased demand is expected to be in Asia Pacific as a result of its rising prosperity and a growing middle class.
Later this year on Jurong Island, ExxonMobil will start up a new 230,000 t/y specialty polymers facility that will produce halobutyl rubber and performance resins for adhesive applications.
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