Brazil Braskem to finish Texas PE plant by Q4 2016

14 October 2016 22:09 Source:ICIS News

The new facility at La Porte, Texas, which began construction in 2014, is Braskem
Braskem's new ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene facility at La Porte, Texas, which began construction in 2014, is the company's first UHMWPE site outside of Brazil. (Source: Braskem)

Clarification: Updates second paragraph on the project's progress.

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Braskem is finalising safety tests for its ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) plant in La Porte, Texas, the Brazil-based polyolefins producer told ICIS on Friday.

The plant, which is scheduled to start up by the end of 2016, was commissioned on Thursday. A Braskem spokesperson clarified on Monday that the commissioning comes before the start-up, noting that everything is on schedule at the La Porte plant. Braskem did not disclose expected capacity. 

Braskem, partly owned by Brazil's semi-public Petrobras, is one of the leading producers of UHMWPE, which Braskem sells under the name UTEC.

The company already has polypropylene (PP) facilities in Texas, as well as in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

“Our new UTEC UHMWPE plant in Texas is another step in bringing Braskem closer to our clients with advanced engineered polymers as well as creating additional high-quality engineering and production jobs in La Porte," UTEC global business director Christopher Gee said in a statement on Thursday. 

"The new plant combined with Braskem’s dedicated US Innovation and Technology Centre will make Braskem an even more reliable partner for its clients and play a key role in developing new applications for additional market segments.”

According to the company, UHMWPE is more resistant to abrasions and impacts than typical PE. Braskem also noted that the material is eight times lighter than steel and lasts 10 times longer than high density PE (HDPE).

UHMWPE is used in applications spanning from auto parts, electronics, textiles and plates for body armour.

The company has offices in the US, Europe and Asia.

By David Haydon