Six years after announcing preliminary plans at NPE2012 for new technologies, Formosa Plastics Corp. USA said polyethylene and polypropylene production and capacity expansions have begun at its plant in Point Comfort Texas.
The three technology expansions include:
• New tubular low density polyethylene plant technology has been licensed from ExxonMobil Catalysts and Licensing LLC, with a production capacity of 400,000 metric tons per year.
• New dual-purpose PE plant technology will be licensed from Univation Technologies LLC, for its Unipol process technology. The expansion will allow the production of both high and linear low density PE. The combined capacity will be 400,000 metric tons year.
• New polypropylene plant technology will be licensed from Japan Polypropylene Corp. (JPP), which will add 250,000 metric tons per year of capacity to the site's current production.
The Point Comfort plant, one of three U.S. Formosa manufacturing facilities, is being expanded to accommodate the capacity additions.
According to Yonas Kebede, senior global marketing and business development manager, the LDPE expansion fills a hole in the company portfolio.
"For several years, we were trying to enter this particular market to basically expand our product portfolio," Kebede said. "We chose the Exxon technology for its outstanding reliability, and really for it's great clarity resins that it produces."
He said it should "complements our existing lineal low density products that we have and also allow us to enter new markets that we don't participate it, namely food packaging area. That's one of the benefits that we feel that this technology will bring."
He said the goal is to move all of the product in the U.S. market, but that some of the capacity will be moved to customers across the globe.
Kebede said Formosa was looking to expand its ability to provide film resin base, as well as produce high density, depending on market demand.
"If the market demands the high density, we want to be able to have that flexibility to go back and forth," he said. "We are looking to see what we can do with this technology to be able to supply the marketplace with what it needs based on the demand."
Strong demand in the co-polymer market prompted the PP expansion, Keberde said. "It's a good product for us as we look to expand further in that year. Polypropylene supply has been tight, this this meets those demands."
Formosa has expanded its offerings to include high impact copolymer and random copolymer resins since obtaining its first JPP license in 2001.
"We look forward to introducing our new line of Fomolene LDPE resins and expanding our current Formolene HDPE and LLDPE product lines, said Ken Mounger, vice president and general manager, polyolefins. "Our additional supply of Formolene polypropylene will enable us to grow in strategic markets, too."