Amoco Corp. of Chicago is looking beyond the expected polypropylene capacity boom of 1999 and is considering construction of a 595 million-pound-per-year PP plant in northwest Indiana or northeast Illinois that would be operational in 2002.
The plant also would produce 990 million pounds of propylene and 77 million pounds of ethylene annually. The project still needs the approval of Amoco's board.
``These new units would broaden our polypropylene capabilities and ensure continued growth with our customers while allowing us to further diversify into new applications,'' Executive Vice President Enrique Sosa said in a news release.
Midwestern PP customers consume 4 billion pounds of material each year in applications such as packaging, fibers and yarns, automotive components, major appliances and large consumer goods, according to Amoco, which is North America's second-largest PP producer behind Montell Polyolefins of Wilmington, Del.
Both potential sites have links to other Amoco facilities. Amoco operates an oil refinery in Whiting, Ind., and a chemicals complex in Joliet, Ill.
Project evaluation should be completed by the end of the year.
The firm is undaunted by industry expansions that will total 3.5 billion pounds by the end of 1999. A 550 million-pound expansion of Amoco's Alvin, Texas, PP plant is included in that total.
``We're taking a very positive long-term view on polypropylene,'' said Amoco spokesman Scott Dean. ``It's a major part of our portfolio and we've got a lot of interesting opportunities in the Midwest.''
Industry sales seem to support the optimism. North American PP sales and captive use totaled almost 13.1 billion pounds in 1997—a 7.9 percent jump over 1996's 12.1 billion pounds, according to the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. in Washington.