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Ascend Performance Materials planning $1.2 billion propylene plant

By: Frank Esposito

February 26, 2013

HOUSTON -- Ascend Performance Materials has announced plans to build a massive $1.2 billion plant that would make plastic feedstock propylene in Alvin, Texas.

The plant would create 100 jobs and would make propylene through the propane dehydrogenation method. Houston-based Ascend would use some of that material internally to make its own Vydyne-brand nylon 6/6, as well as other plastics and fibers.

But market sources said that, given the size of the investment, it's likely that Ascend would sell some of the plant's propylene output to other companies. This could help improve North American propylene availability, which has been limited in recent years, causing tremendous volatility in prices for polypropylene resin.

No capacity total for the proposed plant was included in a Feb. 26 news release. Ascend officials could not be reached for comment.

In the release, Ascend president Tim Strehl said that the project " builds on the existing strength of the Ascend position as a global leader in the chemicals and nylon businesses."

The firm will receive $1 million in project funding from the state-run Texas Enterprise Fund.

"Ascend's new facility...further strengthens the Gulf Coast's economy and chemical production industry," Texas Gov. Rick Perry said in the release.