CHICAGO — Phillips Petroleum Co. is pursuing global growth for its plastics business, according to two of the company's top plastics executives.
James Gallogly, vice president of Phillips' plastics division, said the company has recovered from takeover attempts and heavy debt it suffered through in the mid-1980s.
Gallogly and J. Robert Benz, global ventures vice president, pointed out several far-reaching projects to prove the company's rebounding effort.
A 474 million-pound polyethylene capacity expansion in Singapore will double Phillips' capacity there later this year, while 220 million pounds of PE will join the mix in Jinsanwei, China, in 1999.
Additional joint ventures will add feedstock and PE capacity in Thailand and the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar by 2000.
``The difference between globalizing like we're doing and becoming a multiregional business is that we're looking at the world as our base,'' Gallogly said in an interview during NPE in Chicago.
The company's joint polypropylene venture with Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd. of Japan is forging ahead with 270 million pounds of additional capacity at a gas-phase plant that came on line at its Houston location late last year.
Gallogly said recent market interest has come from Japanese automakers.
Phillips is bucking an industry trend by maintaining its plastics technology center in Bartlesville, Okla., for customer support. Some resin manufacturers have backed out of this area to focus on research and development and other long-term areas.
``If you're in the business of providing services, you have to show your customers how to use the technology you're bringing them,'' Benz said.
``Our gas stations are self-serve, but our division is still full-serve,'' Gallogly said.
Phillips also is moving ahead in the metallocene area by making its catalysts available for loop-slurry processes. Marlex, a metallocene-based linear low density PE used in packaging and several other areas, first was made by this process earlier this year.
Benz said the loop-slurry advancement will allow the company to ``step out considerably'' in the metallocene area, where it owns 30 percent of existing patents.
Elsewhere on the new product side, officials of the company said a new Ryton-brand polyphenylene sulfide compound is offering good wear resistance when compared with metal and other thermoplastics in a lubricated environment.
Advancements in Phillips' K-Resin styrene butadiene copolymers are providing broader FDA compliance and increased processing stability, officials said.