US Westlake to convert Kentucky cracker to ethane, expand capacity

02 October 2012 14:33  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Westlake is to convert the feedstock for its Calvert City, Kentucky ethylene plant from propane to ethane, and is to expand production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and ethylene at the site, the US vinyls producer said on Tuesday.

The feedstock decision was taken in order to capitalise on the growing availability of low-cost ethane from the Marcellus shale gas play, and to strengthen integration of its vinyl production chain, the company said.

Westlake is planning to increase its ethylene capacity in Calvert City from 450m lb/year (204,000 tonnes/year) to 630m lb/year. The company will also add 200m lb/year to its existing PVC plant’s capacity of 1,100m lb/year.

Total cost for the projects is estimated at between $210m (€164m) and $240m, with a second-quarter 2014 forecast for completion of the ethylene expansion and conversion project, while the PVC plant expansion is expected to be completed by late 2014.

"These announced projects demonstrate our commitment to our overall integration strategy and to leveraging our access to low cost feedstock,” said Westlake president and CEO Albert Chao.

Kentucky legislators have preliminarily approved $10m in tax incentives for the projects, with an additional $7m pending approval through the Kentucky Reinvestment Act (KRA), a measure set up to provide tax credits for companies with manufacturing bases in the state.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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