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Westlake Chemical extends the list of US ethane cracker projects

Westlake to expand Louisiana Lake Charles Ethylene

2B1st_Project_Smart_Explorer_Sales_Pursuit_ToolWhile Westlake Chemical Corporation (Westlake) was celebrating the completion of its expansion in Calvert City, Kentucky, the Houston-based company announced a new project with the expansion of its historical Lake Charles ethylene plant in Louisiana, USA.

Originally established in 1986 in Louisiana with a low density polyethylene plant in Lake Charles, Westlake benefited these last years from the shale gas glut to boost the ethylene production and derivatives in its various facilities.

Westlake_Chemical_Louisiana_Lake-Charles_Ethylene_Expansion_Project_mapToday Westlake is operating 16 chemical facilities in USA, China and Europe producing ethylene and all its derivatives of polyethylene, styrene, plastics, coating, vinyl acetate, butene and all series of polymers.

Focusing on high added value hydrocarbon products, Westlake has grown up with acquisitions and midsize investments in order to add new transformations or increase capacity in its ethylene-based value chain.

In Calvert City, Westlake spent $300 million capital expenditure to convert the propane sourced ethylene production into ethane supply.

While propane remains a rather expansive natural gas liquid (NGL), the ethane derivated from the shale gas production is not only cheaper but more efficient in the ethylene production.

Ideally located in Kentucky, this Calvert City 40% ethylene capacity expansion investment should be profitable in few months to produce PVC.

Westlake to invest $1 billion in Louisiana through 2016 

Just completed Calvert City, Westlake is keeping up its investment momentum in order to maintain its market leadership on the US market for the ethylene production.

With a growing demand on the domestic market for plastics, rubber, fiberglass, insulation and other coating, the shale gas production motivated chemical companies to announce series of ethane cracker for the production of ethylene and derivatives in North America.

Westlake_Chemical_Louisiana_Lake-Charles_Ethylene_Expansion_ProjectMost of these projects are gigantic, with an average of $3 billion capital expenditure per project.

All these projects should be highly profitable and should come on stream one day, but their size is about ten times Westlake investment and will require complex feasibility studies, years of front end engineering and design (FEED) and some more for the engineering, production and construction (EPC).

Meanwhile Westlake is repeating $300 million magnitude investment implemented on fast-track from first studies to first production and in replicating well-known processes to reduce risks and save time.

In planning $330 million capital expenditure to increase the ethylene cracker capacity in its Lake Charles chemical complex, is playing again with the snowball effect to increase ethylene production at low costs that will benefit on short track to all its downstream derivatives.

As part of its $1 billion investment in Louisiana, this Westlake Ethylene Expansion project is also taking advantage from the Louisiana Economical Development (LED) package for tax exemption and education

With this investment, Westlake will add 115 million tonnes per year (t/y) ethylene to its historical Lake Charles ethylene cracker that should come on commercial operations in 2016.

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