In a bid to reinforce the competitiveness of its petrochemical operation at Chiba Works, Sumitomo Chemical plans to close an ethylene plant. The shutdown is scheduled on or before September 2015- coinciding with its next periodic shutdown maintenance. After the shutdown of the ethylene plant, Sumitomo Chemical will procure necessary quantities of ethylene and other basic petrochemical feedstock by increasing purchases from Keiyo Ethylene Co., a joint venture among Maruzen Petrochemical Co., Mitsui Chemicals Inc. and Sumitomo Chemical.
Sumitomo Chemical’s ethylene plant has been in operation for longer than 40 years, and its competitiveness is falling behind in terms of energy efficiency, and maintenance and repair costs. In addition, there has been a decrease in domestic demand for general-purpose ethylene derivatives over the past years, as per The Asahi Shimbun.