25 February 2013 19:30 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Chemical major LyondellBasell is relocating its US research and development (R&D) centre in Pennsylvania to Texas, a spokesman said on Monday.
The R&D centre in Newtown Square supports intermediates and derivatives, such as propylene oxide and acetyls, said David Harpole. The transition to the 70,000-square-foot facility in Channelview near Houston will allow the company to develop processed technologies and chemical catalysts, primarily for the acetyl business.
“We have a fairly large facility at Channelview, one of the largest in the world,” Harpole said. “We had existing space for us to locate the centre at that particular site, giving us better access to personnel throughout the region – both in developing the technology and implementing them in the manufacturing sites that support the business.”
LyondellBasell has propylene oxide sites at Channelview and Bayport, as well as an acetyl facility in La Porte.
“So basically, what we’re doing is locating those assets to the Gulf Coast and closer to the manufacturing facilities and engineering operations to create a critical mass that did not exist when the R&D centre was located in Pennsylvania,” Harpole said.
Financial details were not disclosed, but Harpole said the transition should be completed by Q2 2013.
“The new centre has been constructed, and we’re in the process of moving the pilot plants and other laboratory equipment that will need to be installed in the new facility,” he said.
The R&D centre will employ about 75 people, with about a third relocating from Pennsylvania. The remaining staff will be new hires and employees who are transferring from other LyondellBasell sites.
The company has an R&D centre for its Americas polymers business in Cincinnati, Ohio. It also has two R&D centres for its European polymers and catalysts business – one in Ferrara, Italy and another in Frankfurt, Germany.
LyondellBasell had said in early February that it will continue to focus on R&D activities that deliver “differential and innovations for polymers and catalysts”.
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