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Business

Another U.S. Ethylene Cracker Planned

by Alexander H. Tullo
January 6, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 1

Polyvinyl chloride maker Axiall is considering building a $3 billion ethylene and derivatives complex in Louisiana with a “soon to be named” partner. Axiall would foot about $1 billion of the bill, and the partner would pay the balance. Axiall is a sizable buyer of ethylene, purchasing about 2 billion lb of the basic chemical per year; managers aim to make half of that in the new cracker. Axiall plans to soon begin permitting, front-end engineering, and site selection for the complex, which would start up in 2018. Axiall was formed in January 2013 through the merger of Georgia Gulf with PPG Industries’ chlor-alkali business. It is the third-largest chlor-alkali maker and the second-largest vinyl chloride producer in the U.S. Axiall’s ethylene cracker is the ninth to be announced in the U.S. in the past two years by companies seeking to take advantage of low-cost natural gas from shale. One of them, Shell Chemicals, just negotiated an extension of an option to buy a site in Monaca, Pa., for its proposed project. The company needs more time to evaluate the plant.

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