Shintech Inc. will spend almost $1.5 billion to expand its PVC and related feedstocks operations in Plaquemine, La.
Work has begun on a new PVC unit that will have 640 million pounds of annual capacity, officials with Houston-based Shintech said in a July 24 news release. The first phase of the project also will increase Shintech's annual production of caustic soda by almost 600 million pounds.
The expansion will be located next to Shintech's existing facilities in Plaquemine. New production also will include 1.9 billion pounds of annual capacity for PVC feedstock vinyl chloride monomer. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
The project will create 120 new direct jobs and 590 indirect jobs. Temporary jobs could number as many as 3,000 at peak construction.
Officials said in the release that when Shintech decided to construct an integrated production facility for PVC in Louisiana in 2004, “very few expected that shale gas and shale oil would turn around the energy and feedstock situation in the U.S the way it turns out today.”
“The advancement of shale gas and shale oil thereafter in the U.S. has been astonishing,” they added. “At present, ethylene using local natural gas as a raw material has established its competitive advantage in comparison with ethylene using highly priced crude oil as a raw material.”
This advantage, officials said, has boosted Shintech's competitiveness in terms of procurement costs.
Shintech – a unit of world PVC leader Shin-Etsu Chemical of Tokyo - completed construction of that first PVC unit in Plaquemine in 2008. Since then, the firm has expanded and raised production capacity three times and is now building an ethylene plant. That $1.4 billion ethylene unit will have annual production capacity of more than 1 billion pounds.
Officials added that the new PVC and caustic soda capacity is needed because global demand for both products is outpacing availability of supply. Shintech “will leverage the advantage of favorable raw material economics in the U.S. to steadily meet increasing demand in the U.S. and the rest of the world, with plans to further increase its capacity in a timely manner,” they added.
In a news release from the Louisiana Economic Development trade group, Shin-Etsu President Yasuhiko Saito said his firm “is pleased to proceed with this project and are going to carry out the construction at full throttle.” Shintech Manufacturing Director Danny Cedotal added that Shintech “has had great success with our Addis and Plaquemine facilities, none of which would be possible without the support of our neighbors and our community.”