Brazilian materials maker Braskem is taking a look at building a new polypropylene resin plant in the United States.
At a recent chemical industry event in New York, Braskem America CEO Fernando Musa said that “there are talks of new polypropylene plants in the U.S., and we are evaluating that possibility.
“We see this happening in the near future,” he added. “However, everything depends on the availability of propylene feedstock. We need to secure the feedstock at the right location and at the right price.”
Propylene capacity additions from several firms — including Dow Chemical Co. — will be coming online in North America beginning this year. Many of these projects use propane dehydrogenation (PDH) technology, which intentionally produces propylene, rather than making it as a byproduct of gasoline refining.
In spite of this new propylene capacity, no firms have announced plans to add PP resin capacity in the region.
If Braskem opens a new PP plant, it would be the first in North America since 2003, when a plant now owned by ConocoPhillips Co. opened in Linden, N.J.
São Paulo-based Braskem built its North American PP business by purchasing the PP units of Sunoco Inc. in 2011 and of Dow in 2012. Braskem spent almost $700 million on those two deals. Also in 2012, Braskem paid almost $60 million for propylene splitter assets operated by Sunoco in Marcus Hook, Pa.
Braskem now ranks as North America's largest PP maker, operating 3.2 billion pounds of annual capacity at plants in Marcus Hook; Kenova, W. Va.; and at three Texas plants — La Porte, Freeport and Seadrift.