Huntsman Chemical Co. plans to build what it claims will be the world's biggest low density polyethylene plant, on its site in Wilton, England.
The $355 million facility, due to be up and running by the third quarter of 2007, will have annual capacity of 882 million pounds of resin, destined chiefly for the packaging sector.
This project is Salt Lake City-based Huntsman's first venture into Europe's growing PE market and is designed not only to satisfy the United Kingdom's LDPE needs, but to make the country a net exporter, according to Huntsman.
The company estimates current annual LDPE consumption in Britain at about 1.1 billion pounds, with some 11 billion pounds more a year being used across Europe. Britain currently imports some LDPE to meet local demand.
The new facility will be in northeast England's industrial Teeside region. Peter Huntsman, president and chief executive officer, said a $30 million regional development grant from the British government was ``a crucial factor'' in its go-ahead.
The plant will be a significant consumer of ethylene produced by a 1.9 billion-pound-per-year ethylene cracker plant on the Huntsman site. A number of the cracker's big contracts expire in the next few years, according to a Huntsman spokesman. The company bought the site and cracker in 1999 from Imperial Chemical Industries plc.
Huntsman touts itself as the world's largest privately owned chemical company. It employs 15,000 in operations in 30 countries and has annual sales of $9.5 billion. The company produces LDPE resin at an Odessa, Texas, site with annual capacity of 430 million pounds.