OxyChem-Mexichem JV plans ethylene plant

A joint venture of Occidental Chemical Corp. (OxyChem) and Mexichem SAB de CV will build a 1.2-billion-lb/year ethylene cracker on the site of an OxyChem plant at Ingleside, Tex.

The existing OxyChem plant produces vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), chlorine, and caustic soda. The new 50-50 joint venture is Ingleside Ethylene LLC.

Under a long-term supply relationship, the ethylene produced from the cracker will feed existing VCM manufacturing capacity. Mexichem will use the VCM to produce polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and PVC piping systems.

OxyChem, a wholly owned subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corp., will build and operate the cracker, which will take advantage of growing supplies of low-cost feedstock from shale-gas development. Construction also will include pipelines and storage at Markham, Tex.

For the ethylene plant, it has completed front-end engineering and design, received draft permits from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and applied for US Environmental Protection Agency permits.

It expects to let the engineering and construction contract in the fourth quarter this year. Construction is to begin in mid-2014. Commercial operations are to begin in first-quarter 2017.

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