Idemitsu Kosan and Mitsui Chemicals to combine operations of two naphtha crackers

As planned in April, Japanese oil refiner Idemitsu Kosan Co and petrochemical maker Mitsui Chemicals Inc will combine operations of their two naphtha crackers on the first day of October, marking the start of their 50-50 joint venture, as per Reuters. Combining of the two crackers at the same complex in Chiba will lead to total production capacity of 920,000 tpa of ethylene. The joint venture, which will account for about 12% of Japan's ethylene capacity of over 7 mln tpa, at a time Asian competitors as well as Middle East petrochemical plants, which use cheaper gas instead of naphtha as feedstock, increase production. In a similar move, two petrochemical makers Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp and Asahi Kasei Corp have agreed to set up a joint venture to operate their ethylene facilities at the same site from April 2011.
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