LyondellBasell to build high density polyethylene plant on US Gulf Coast

Lyondell Blasell’s La Porte Complex is located on the Houston Ship Channel near the San Jacinto Monument. The site produces ethylene, propylene, linear low-density polyethylene and low-density polyethylene. Photo courtesy of Lyondell Blasell.

LyondellBasell, a major plastics, chemical and refining company, has made the final investment decision to build a high density polyethylene (HDPE) plant on the US Gulf Coast. The plant will have an annual capacity of 1.1 B pounds, and will be the first commercial plant to employ LyondellBasell's new proprietary technology. The project is expected to create up to 1,000 jobs at the peak of construction and as many as 75 permanent positions. Start-up is planned for 2019.

HDPE is used in numerous applications such as pipe, bottles, containers, toys, film, healthcare articles, plastic fuel tanks and industrial packaging. LyondellBasell's proprietary technology will provide enhanced properties including improved stress crack resistance and enhanced balance between stiffness and impact strength.

The new technology is a cascade gas phase process based on LyondellBasell's unique circulating reactor technology and was developed at LyondellBasell's European research and development centers located in Frankfurt, Germany, and Ferrara, Italy. The new proprietary technology will have the capability to produce a wide range of high-performance multi-modal HDPE products. In certain applications, the new resins will allow customers to use less PE resin per unit produced, resulting in improved resource efficiency and savings for customers. While the new plant will be located on the US Gulf Coast, the products produced will serve markets across the globe.

"We are continuing to invest in growth-oriented projects like this, where we see long term feedstock advantage," Patel added. "We believe that the combination of our latest polyolefins technology and new ethylene capacity from low cost debottlenecks will provide a good return on investment. Additionally, this project enhances our ethylene integration strategy, allowing us to capture value across the ethylene value chain."

LyondellBasell currently produces a total of 7.8 B pounds of HDPE annually, including capacity of its joint venture facilities. The company is a leading worldwide producer of all forms of polyethylene with an annual capacity of 13.2 B pounds. Consumer products made from PE are commonly recycled.

The project is part of LyondellBasell's ongoing growth plan. Recently, the company completed work on ethylene expansion projects at the company's La Porte and Channelview sites in Texas. A third ethylene expansion project is currently underway in Corpus Christi, Texas. Additionally, development of a world scale propylene oxide and tertiary butyl alcohol (PO/TBA) plant at the company's Channelview site is progressing.

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