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Jumbo PET plant, facing reported $100-mil in claims, sees mid-2017 start

HOUSTON, April 21, 2017 (PCW) -- The world’s largest PET plant under construction in Corpus Christi, Texas, is reportedly facing $100 million in legal claims filed against it, but still expects to be “fully operational by mid-2017,” the plant’s owner, MG Chemicals, said this week.

M&G did not respond to a request for comment on an April 14 San Antonio Express-News article that reported that M&G faced claims of more than $100 million from dozens of companies that have worked on Project Jumbo. The cost to construct Jumbo is estimated at about $1 billion.

M&G acknowledged it was “continuing to sort through the various claims” of subcontractors, but that this would not affect the start-up schedule. M&G's global manufacturing director, Mauro Fenoglio, said the issue was the result of a general contractor that "walked off the job delaying the project."

Meanwhile, another giant PET producer, DAK Americas, has “supply contract rights” for 500,000 metric tons/year of Jumbo’s PET production, DAK spokesman Ricky Lane confirmed to PCW. Jumbo's planned capacity is 1.1 million mt/year of PET and 1.3 million mt/year of PTA.

DAK, owned by Mexican chemical giant Alpek S.A.B. de C.V, reportedly invested about $500 million for the supply rights; Lane had no comment on this investment.

Market sources close to Jumbo said they have been told to expect a start-up no sooner than Q4 2017. Lane referred questions regarding the startup to M&G.

A source at Port Corpus Christi, which recently completed building a bulk liquids port for Jumbo, said that “[M&G] was current on all payments with the port, and [this] was never an issue.” M&G has been at work this year on a tower at the port, which will receive bulk liquids like crude oil. -- Xavier A. Cronin

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