HOUSTON — Equistar Chemicals of Houston has selected engineering contractors for previously announced high density polyethylene capacity additions in Matagorda and Victoria, Texas.
Officials at Equistar, the recently formed joint venture between Lyondell Petrochemical Co. and Millennium Chemicals Inc., said the contracting announcements were made, in part, to silence rumors that the Matagorda project had been put on hold. Such rumors have circulated throughout the industry since the joint venture was announced earlier this year.
Bechtel Corp. of Houston will work on the 480 million-pound expansion in Matagorda, which is scheduled to be operational in the third quarter of 1999.
S&B Engineers & Construction Ltd., also of Houston, will serve as the primary contractor for the 1998 debottlenecking of the Victoria plant.
That debottlenecking will add 125 million pounds of annual HDPE capacity.
After the 1999 expansion, Equistar's HDPE capacity will be almost 4 billion pounds annually, adding to its position as the largest HDPE producer in North America.
The company's current total PE production capacity of 6.2 billion pounds also ranks first in that region.
``The investment in additional HDPE capacity will allow us to supply the rapidly growing film market, where we are a strong participant'' with both HDPE and low and linear low density PE, Dan Smith, Equistar chief executive officer, said in a Dec. 15 news release.