Ineos Olefins & Polymers USA – the North American subsidiary of the privately owned Swiss chemicals company – announced on Friday that it’s joining forces with the South African energy and chemical company Sasol to expand the La Porte plastics manufacturing complex.
The expansion – which is expected to cost $500 million – will allow the plant to produce 470 kilotons per year of high-density polyethylene, which is used to make plastic bags, bottles, jugs and pipes.
“The economics of shale gas have been a real game-changer for the ethylene market and thus the downstream business as well,” said Charles Saunders, chief legal officer at Ineos Olefins & Polymers USA in an interview with Fuel Fix. “Gas in the U.S. has been so price advantaged for so long – and will continue to be price-advantaged – that the economics are just there for this type of expansion.”
According to FuelFix, Ineos’ La Porte complex was an ideal location because it offers close access to Sasol’s expanding footprint in Southwest Louisiana, where the company recently announced plans to build a $8.1 billion ethane cracker. The massive piece of equipment converts ethane, a natural gas liquid, into ethylene, a key component in plastics and chemicals.
The project will generate 1,000 construction jobs and 30 permanent jobs once it’s completed in 2016.
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