Formosa to expand US PVC capacity in Louisiana by '20

18 December 2017 18:27 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Formosa Plastics USA said on Monday that it would expand its polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production in the US by 2020, becoming the second producer to reveal expansion plans in recent weeks.

The company said it would add 300m lb (136,000 tonnes)/year in production capacity at its complex in Baton Rouge, it said.

Formosa’s Baton Rouge Complex now has production capacity of 470,000 tonne/year for PVC, according to ICIS database information.

The company did not reveal cost and technical details.

Formosa, with global headquarters in Taiwan, said it has filed a permit application with the Louisina Department of Environmental Quality on Friday.

Its announcement follows by less than six weeks a proposal by Shintech. It may expand its own PVC production at its nearby complex in Plaquemine, Louisina, by 370,000 tonne/year, according to a public notice filed with the US Army Corps of Engineers. Shintech said it would also expand chlor-alkali production and add new capacity for ethylene dichloride (EDC) and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) to accommodate its PVC expansion.

Shintech is also nearing completion of a 500,000 tonne/year ethane cracker to back-integrate to ethylene.

The expansion announcements seem to support the notion that US PVC producers have ambitions to use their low-cost feedstock position from natural gas  to become global suppliers.

US and Canada PVC producers in 2017 have exported about 25% of their production.

But exports have slowly declined as domestic demand picked up.

Major US PVC producers apart from Shintech and Formosa include Occidental Chemical and Westlake Chemical.

Image above: PVC is used to make pipes. Source: Stock Connection/REX/Shutterstock

By Bill Bowen