Indorama Ventures (IVL) has begun operation of its new 75,000t per annum polyethylene terephthalate (PET) solid state polymerisation (SSP) facility in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

The Thai, vertically integrated polyester value chain producer said that the new facility, which is the first PET plant in West Africa, produces bottle-grade PET chips through SSP, the second stage of the PET production process.

The initial chips, formed by a polycondensation process, can be sourced from IVL’s facilities in Asia or Europe and shipped to Nigeria for final processing, the company said.

According to IVL, the facility uses German Buhler SSP technology and provides the company with the ability to serve its customers on four continents.

IVL group CEO Aloke Lohia said the company’s aim is to cater to its customers operating in the fast-moving consumer goods sector with the same quality service as it has provided on three other major continents.

"Our business will also serve the economic growth of the country as consumer demand for basic non-discretionary items like food and beverages rises. Our investment is a reflection of our belief that Nigeria has a lot of potential for further growth," Lohia added.

Nigeria is said to be one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, with an estimated demand of about 53,000t of PET.

IVL, which posted a consolidated revenue of $6.1bn in 2011, has a global footprint and manufacturing facilities across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, and its main products include purified terephthalic acid (PTA), PET, polyester fibre and ethylene oxide/glycols.