US Westlake ethylene cracker to be down 60 days in Q1 - CEO

19 February 2013 17:41  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--One of two ethylene crackers at US petrochemical producer Westlake’s facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana, will be down for approximately 60 days in the first quarter of 2013 for an expansion, officials confirmed on Tuesday.

The expansion will add more than 40% of capacity to the facility’s ethylene production, from 460m lbs to 630m lbs, Westlake CEO Albert Chao told analysts during a conference call to discuss Q4 2012 earnings.

The company also plans to start up its new chlor-alkali facility in the second half of 2013, Chao said. An exact timetable for the plant’s start would be discussed later in the year, he said.

Additionally, the company plans to expand its production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) by approximately 200m lbs in 2014 and begin an expansion of the second ethylene cracker at Lake Charles in 2015.

The planned expansions are the result of the new feedstock advantage in North America derived from increased production of natural gas that is reshaping the global petrochemical industry, Chao said.

Asked by an analyst, Chao said he had no new information on the impact of the force majeure Westlake declared on all resin products because of production issues at the vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) facility at Lake Charles.

Follow Ken Fountain (@ICIS_Ken)  on Twitter.

By: Ken Fountain

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