Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LP has broken ground for two new polyethylene units in Old Ocean, Texas, that will have combined annual production capacities of more than 2 billion pounds.
The firm — based in The Woodlands, Texas — broke ground at a June 17 ceremony that was attended by company officials, as well as representatives from the nearby cities of Sweeny and West Columbia, Brazoria County and the state of Texas.
With the ground breaking, Chevron Phillips “maintains its first-mover position within the petrochemicals industry to engineer and build world-scale ethylene and derivatives facilities in the U.S., based on the successful development of shale resources,” company officials said in a news release.
President and CEO Peter Cella added that, with the construction of what he called “this mega-project,” Chevron Phillips “will be in a position to better serve the growing needs of our customers around the globe.”
Both the two new PE units and a 3.3-billion-pound-per-year capacity ethylene cracker at the site are scheduled to be operational in 2017. The company said the project will create 400 full-time jobs and 10,000 temporary construction jobs. It also will call for the installation of 45 miles of new railroad track.
PE made at the Old Ocean site is expected to be used in flexible packaging, plastic pipe, merchandise bags and similar applications. PE makers including ExxonMobil Chemical Co., Dow Chemical Co. and Formosa Plastics Corp. USA also are adding capacity because of newfound supplies of natural gas feedstock throughout North America.
These and other projects are expected to increase the region's total annual PE production capacity by at least 25 percent by 2020, according to industry estimates.