02 August 2011 22:53 [Source: ICIS news]
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HOUSTON (ICIS)--US-based Westlake plans to increase ethylene capacity by nearly 226,800 tonnes/year by expanding its two crackers in Louisiana, the polyethylene (PE) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) producer said on Tuesday.
The company is also considering plans to convert its cracker in Calvert City, Kentucky, to crack ethane instead of propane, said chief executive Albert Chao during the company's second quarter earnings call.
The first expansion will come in the second half of 2012 at one of the company's crackers in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The project will increase capacity by about 108,863 tonnes/year. Then in 2014, Westlake plans to expand the second Lake Charles cracker by 113,399 tonnes/year.
“In Calvert City … we continue to review the options surrounding the propane to ethane conversion, including what, if any, new incremental ethylene capacity will be produced at the time of the conversion,” said Westlake senior vice president Dave Hansen.
The Calvert City cracker, which uses propane to produce ethylene, has a capacity of 195,000 tonnes/year.
"We're waiting for a Marcellus [shale] pipeline to bring ethane from the Marcellus down to the Gulf Coast," Chao said. "We hope to tap into those pipelines to bring ethane to Calvert City. Once we convert from propane to ethane, the potential for incremental debottlenecks will add some capacity at Calvert City."
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