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Business

LyondellBasell Plans Yet More Ethylene

by Michael McCoy
March 18, 2013 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 91, ISSUE 11

LyondellBasell Industries is planning further ethylene increases at its U.S. crackers to take advantage of low-cost natural gas from shale. In 2011, the company announced an 800 million-lb-per-year ethylene expansion in La Porte, Texas. At an investor day last week, the firm revealed plans to expand its Corpus Christi, Texas, cracker by the same amount. And a third project, in Channelview, Texas, will add 250 million lb. In all, the company will have expanded its U.S. ethylene capacity approximately 20% by 2015. Additionally, the firm is evaluating the construction of a new polyethylene line that would have about 1 billion lb of capacity and cost about $200 million. Several of Lyondell’s competitors have announced grassroots U.S. ethylene crackers, but CEO James L. Gallogly said his strategy of expanding existing plants “will add the capacity equivalent to a large existing cracker, be onstream earlier, and avoid the higher costs of constructing a new grassroots plant.”

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