Braskem Gives Go-ahead for US PP Plant
The board of directors at Brazilian petrochemicals producer Braskem has formally approved the construction of a 450,000 t/y polypropylene (PP) plant at its site in LaPorte, near Houston, Texas, USA. The company said the plant, named Delta, will be the largest PP production line in the Americas.
Up to $675 million will be invested in the facility, which will add capacity for homopolymers, random copolymers, impact copolymers and reactor thermoplastic olefins (TPOs). Delta will benefit from the existing infrastructure at LaPorte where Braskem already operates a 354,000 t/y PP plant.
Engineering work is underway and construction is expected to start mid-summer, with the final phase of main construction targeted for the first quarter of 2020. A firm start-up date has not been given.
Braskem’s CEO, Fernando Musa, said that Delta will leverage the US’ low-cost feedstock position that has resulted from the development and production of shale gas. He commented: “This new world-class petrochemical facility will bring important new North American production capacity to help us meet the growing demand from our clients, reaffirming our position as the leading producer of polypropylene in the Americas and the third largest in the world.”
Musa added that with no new PP plants added since 2005, North America transitioned to become a net importer of the polymer in 2016. “As such,” he said, “our additional investment in the United States is a logical extension of our global growth strategy. By increasing our production capacity in close proximity to customer demand, attractive feedstock as well as established export channels, we believe Delta will serve our clients well and offer an attractive return on our investment for our shareholders.”
Upon Delta’s completion, Braskem expects to add another 50 full-time jobs at LaPorte.