Ricardo Cuetos VP Americas – Standard Products, INEOS STYROLUTION AMERICAS
"There needs to be an openness to the energy market, especially for the chemical industry, allowing manufacturers to generate their own energy for internal usage. Less bureaucracy would certainly help the industry to grow."
What have been the highlights from INEOS Styrolution America in the last two years, including the demand trends you have noticed?
The past two years have been busy, and we were able to manage the situation to achieve good business results and grow in a difficult environment, while running our operations in a sustainable and safe manner. A major highlight is our new acrylonitrile styrene acrylate (ASA) plant in Bayport, Texas, which is in the final stages of construction. Additionally, we have increased the acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) capacity at our Altamira plant in Mexico to fully cover the demand in North and South America. We have also been investing significantly in sustainability on a global basis, focusing on mechanical and advanced recycling and carbon footprint reduction.
Over the past two years, our styrenics product line has seen strong demand from the construction, automotive, medical, industrial, sports and leisure, and food packaging segments. As we cover a diversified market space, we were able to balance out decreased demand from some markets, while making increases in other sectors.
How has INEOS Styrolution’s Mexican plant dealt with rising energy costs and ensuring safe logistics?
INEOS Styrolution is a global company, allowing us to have the ability to leverage our global network. We produce the majority of our key raw materials in the US, and we have the great benefit of having access to the port in Altamira. However, the situation in Mexico does sometime present us with challenges.
The energy reform has been one of the factors causing gas and electricity prices to sharply increase. There needs to be an openness to the energy market, especially for the chemical industry, allowing manufacturers to generate their own energy for internal usage. Less bureaucracy would certainly help the industry to grow. High gas and energy prices have resulted in an increase in fixed and variable costs, which makes Mexico less competitive and attractive for further investment in the future. We hope that there will be some policy changes soon allowing energy permits for cogeneration plants.
Another challenge we see is the safety situation for logistics in Mexico – merchandise is being stolen from the rails or docks and on certain highways traveling is not safe.
Can you outline INEOS Styrolution’s vision for Latin America in the next two years?
INEOS Styrolution is committed to Mexico and despite the concerns and challenges I mentioned, we believe the country has a bright future, especially considering the reshoring and localization of production chains. I believe that we will see significant growth in Brazil and Argentina, and we will remain committed to these countries. There is also opportunity for growth in countries such as Colombia; we would like to continue growing our presence throughout Latin America, especially through the transfer of new technologies from Europe and the US into these markets.