Fort Worth, Texas-based WL Plastics Manufacturing LLC is building a $40 million, 140,000-square-foot factory in Lubbock, Texas, to manufacture medium density polyethylene pipe plant for the natural gas distribution market.
Company officials had announced plans for a new facility last year but didn't give many details except that it would create 95 jobs in Lubbock, where WL already has a manufacturing plant for high density PE pressure pipe.
Founded in 2000, WL Plastics currently employs about 640 people at nine facilities that produce half-inch to 54-inch diameter PE pipe and related products for natural gas distribution, municipal water, wastewater, geothermal uses, mining, and oil and gas gathering.
With estimated annual sales of $450 million, WL Plastics is the 15th largest pipe, profile and tubing extruder in North America, according to Plastics News data.
The new MDPE pipe factory is expected to be fully operational in mid-2024.
WL Plastics currently manufacturers MDPE pipe for the natural gas distribution market in Titusville, Pa., where it recently acquired the assets of Charter Plastics.
"This new Lubbock facility expands our geographical footprint and product offerings to established and new customers across North America," Joshua Cottle, vice president of marketing and sales, said in an email.
WL Plastics also is making additional investments to expand MDPE production capacity and product offerings at the Titusville plant, Cottle said.
The extra capacity for MDPE pipe will ease supply chain constraints, he added.
"The natural gas distribution and power and communications markets have experienced strong demand and long lead times over the last few years. Long lead times were due to a variety of reasons, namely the global supply chain and employment constraints," Cottle said.
The central location of WL Plastics' 10th plant will allow it to meet demand from utilities across North America, according to WL Plastics CEO Mark Wason.
"We are excited to make this significant investment in the natural gas distribution market and the city of Lubbock, which is an ideal location given our positive experience with our existing manufacturing operation there. Given our commitment to quality, safe operations, and customer service, I am confident that we will become the supplier of choice for the natural gas distribution market," Wason said in a news release.
WL Plastics officials say their PE pipe products play a vital role in maintaining and expanding U.S. infrastructure with durable, leak-free pressure pipe systems designed with a 100-year service life.
MDPE PE 2708 pipe, which is yellow, has been the standard for natural gas distribution, propane, and liquid petroleum gas systems since the 1960's.
WL Plastics also offers black HDPE pipe with yellow stripes for those applications, which the company website says is becoming more popular because its higher tensile strength allows higher pull strengths for directional drilling and it has higher pressure ratings.
WL Plastics is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ineos USA LLC, which does business as Ineos Olefins & Polymers USA and is part of the Ineos Group, a manufacturer of petrochemicals, specialty chemicals and oil products.