Westlake Chemical launches ethylene expansion

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: January 11, 2013 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Suppliers

HOUSTON (Jan. 11, 10:30 a.m. ET) — Westlake Chemical Corp. has launched work on a project that will add 230 million pounds of annual capacity for plastic feedstock ethylene at its plant in Lake Charles, La.

The 60-day project will include a planned maintenance turnaround that will take the unit offline, officials with Houston-based Westlake said in a Jan. 10 news release.

Westlake first announced the Lake Charles expansion in April 2011. An expansion of a second ethylene cracker at the site is scheduled by the end of 2014. President and CEO Albert Chao said at the time that new technical developments in the natural gas industry “make expansion in North America attractive.”

Natural gas can be used as a feedstock to make ethane, which is then converted into ethylene, which is a primary feedstock for polyethylene, PVC and other plastic resins. Newfound supplies of natural gas are being developed throughout North America.

Westlake also is planning to add ethylene and PVC resin capacity at its plant in Calvert City, Ky. A project announced for that site in October would add 180 million pounds of annual ethylene capacity and almost 200 million pounds of annual PVC capacity. The Calvert City expansion is expected to cost between $210 million and $240 million. No cost estimate for the Lake Charles expansion was included in the Jan. 10 release.

Several other North American plastics and chemicals makers – including Dow Chemical Co., Nova Chemical Corp. and Shell Chemical Co. - also are adding capacity to take advantage of low-priced natural gas.

Westlake’s portfolio of plastics and chemicals includes PVC, low density polyethylene, ethylene, vinyl chloride monomer and caustic soda, as well as PVC pipe and related products through its North American Pipe unit.

Through the first nine months of 2012, Westlake’s sales basically were flat at just under $2.8 billion, but its nine-month profit jumped 25 percent to just over $290 million when compared to the year-ago period.

Westlake also has enjoyed a good run on Wall Street recently. Its per-share stock price was around $50 in mid-2012 but was just under $86 in late trading Jan. 10.


Comments

Westlake Chemical launches ethylene expansion

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: January 11, 2013 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Akro-Plastic buying German subsidiary from Metabolix

October 24, 2014 3:32 pm ET

Akro-Plastic GmbH, a Niederzissen, Germany-based plastic compounder, has purchased the assets of Metabolix Inc.'s subsidiary in Germany.    More

Image

Automation firms join forces, look to automotive for future growth

October 24, 2014 2:43 pm ET

Hoping to ease the way for automation in some specialized areas of automotive plastics like laser cutting of door panels, a German robot maker and an ...    More

Image

German export sales strong, push for energy savings continues

October 24, 2014 12:34 pm ET

Germany is the engine that drives the European economy — and when it comes to the plastics industry, German machinery is a potent force, an...    More

Image

Arburg expands presence in China

October 24, 2014 11:34 am ET

German machinery maker Arburg GmbH + Co KG has expanded its office in Shenzhen, China, making it the company's first competence center for automation ...    More

Image

BASF pre-tax earnings rise, but will miss financial targets for 2015

October 24, 2014 10:16 am ET

BASF SE has raised its expectations for pre-tax earnings in 2014 but warned that it would not hit its financial targets for next year.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events