Westlake Chemical to start up ethylene expansion at Lake Charles

Westlake Chemical Corp., Houston, will perform planned maintenance and an expansion of the Petro 2 ethylene unit at the company’s complex in Lake Charles, La., in first-quarter 2013.

This expansion will increase ethane-based ethylene capacity by about 104,000-109,000 tonnes/year. The unit will be offline about 50 days, said the company’s announcement.

Expansion of the P2 unit was announced in April 2011 and originally slated for completion in fourth-quarter this year (OGJ, July 2, 2012, p. 78). Westlake spokesperson Dave Hansen told OGJ the decision to move the work was made to ensure the “site work is optimized and the downtime is minimized.”

In the 2011 announcement, Westlake Chemical said the expansion plans were in response to new low-cost ethane and other light NGLs becoming available as a result of shale gas production. Expansion of Petro 1, originally set for yearend 2014, is scheduled for 2015, said Hansen.

Before the projects were announced, capacity of the crackers was 567,000 tpy and 522,000 tpy, according to OGJ figures for 2011.

Contact Warren R. True at warrent@ogjonline.com.

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