22 April 2011 00:08 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Dow Chemical became on Thursday the latest producer to announce plans to either study or outright increase capacity of monomers in the US, or to debottleneck existing facilities.
The prospect of cost-advantaged feedstocks from US shale gas reserves has prompted several companies to make expansion announcements.
Dow said it planned to build a new cracker on the US Gulf, while other companies such as Chevron Phillips, Braskem and Formosa were either studying or at least were considering expansion of olefins capacity in the US.
The following lists the companies that have announced plans to either study or actually build new plants in the US.
The company operates two crackers at Chocolate Bayou with a combined capacity of 1.70m tonnes/year.
The company expects to complete a feasibility study by the end of 2011.
Westlake Chemical said it planned to increase ethylene capacity at its Lake Charles complex in Louisiana.
The company has two crackers in Lake Charles with 590,000 tonnes/year and 544,000 tonnes/year of ethylene capacity.
The first cracker expansion will increase capacity by approximately 104,000-109,000 tonnes/year. It should be completed by late 2012.
The second expansion is to be completed by the end of 2014, but the company gave no details.
Westlake also said it would also consider expansion options and upgrades of ethylene production at its 195,000 tonne/year Calvert City cracker in Kentucky.
A Taiwan newspaper reported that Formosa Plastics was expanding its US olefins capacity, but the company said a final decision had yet to be made.
US-based ExxonMobil Chemical said it will seek “normal” debottlenecking opportunities in its US petrochemical operations versus building a new cracker.
“We invest selectively in advantaged projects, but never build new capacity because of demand,” said ExxonMobil president Stephen Pryor. While the advent of US shale gas has given US producers a cost advantage today, the long-term impact is unclear, he noted.
(Additional reporting by Al Greenwood and Brian Ford)
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