HOUSTON (ICIS)--Shintech’s 500,000 tonne/year US ethane cracker in Plaquemine, Louisiana is in commissioning as engineers fine-tune operations and make final alterations, the company’s parent said in an email received Friday.
The company had expected mechanical completion by the end of 2018, but some aspects of the plant’s construction apparently remain in the works, the statement said.
Mechanical completion has been achieved “for the most part” and is nearing start-up, the statement from Japan-based Shin-Etsu said.
“Since this our first ethylene plant, we place top priority on safety and are proceeding steadily instead of being hasty,” the company’s email said.
The ethane cracker is part of Shintech's $1.45bn expansion planned to support feedstock for the company’s vinyl chloride (VCM) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production along the Mississippi River.
The company also plans incremental expansion for both products by 300,000 tonnes/year, likely coming on line in 2020.
This is will leverage Shintech's operations to integrate the shale-gas based production cost advantage for the US' largest PVC producer. The cracker will further back-integrate Shintech's PVC production with low-cost ethane.
Shintech, the US division of Tokyo-based Shin-Etsu, has two major PVC plants in the region and a mega-PVC plant at Freeport, Texas.
The Plaquemine plant is currently at 600,000 tonnes/year for PVC. The plant in Addis, Louisiana, is at 900,000 tonnes/year and Freeport is at 1.45m tonnes/year.
Major US PVC producers include Occidental Chemical, Westlake Chemical, Shintech and Formosa Plastics.