16 January 2012 00:00 [Source: ICB]
WESTLAKE EXPANDS US CHLOR-ALKALI
US-based Westlake Chemical is increasing the capacity of the chlor-alkali plants at its Geismar, Louisiana, vinyls complex to 350,000 ECU (electrochemical unit)/year, compared to the planned 250,000 ECU/year expansion announced last year. Estimated construction costs for the new plant are in a range of $370m-420m (€290-329m). The new unit, which will be adjacent to the existing vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) facilities at the Geismar complex, is expected to come on line in the second half of 2013.
TOSOH RUNS CAUSTIC SODA PLANT AT 40%
Japan's Tosoh Corp is running its 1.125m dry metric tonne (dmt)/year caustic soda plant in Nanyo at 40% capacity, following an explosion at the company's vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) line on November 13, 2011. Tosoh is unable to raise the caustic soda unit's rate further because its VCM facility at the site is still offline. The VCM unit - which consists of a 250,000 tonne/year number one line, a 550,000 tonne/year second line, and a 400,000 tonne/year third line - is unlikely to restart any time soon.
NINGBO DONGGANG EXPANDS CAUSTIC SODA
China's Ningbo Donngang Electrochemical plans to bring on line a new 200,000 dry metric tonne (dmt)/year caustic soda plant in April to May, a company source said. Ningbo Donngang operates a 300,000 dmt/year plant at Ningbo in Zhejiang. There are seven chlor-alkali factories in Zhejiang province, with a total capacity of 1.45m dmt/year. When the production expansion is completed, the province's total capacity will reach 1.65m dmt/year, industry sources said.
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