Texas shale gas has found a new customer this month with the latest news from global petrochemical giant Indorama Ventures, which recently announced commercial operations of its olefins gas cracker plant in Westlake, La., on the Gulf Coast.
Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited, founded by Indian businessman Aloke Lohia, is one of the world’s leading producers in the intermediate petrochemicals industry and a global manufacturer of wool yarns. The company is headquartered in Bangkok and started its operations in 1994.
Based in Bangkok, Indorama purchased a 76% stake of the ethylene plant in 2015 from Houston-based Occidental and Oxy’s chemical subsidiary. The now revamped site is 80% operational, with a production capacity of 440 kilotons per year. The plant also is highly integrated with pipeline infrastructure to move ethylene supplies from the processing facility to the company’s oxide and glycols plant in Clear Lake, Texas. This follows Indorama’s $2 billion acquisition in January of Huntsman’s oxide and derivative businesses, which include a large flagship site at Port Neches, as well as at Chocolate Bayou and Dayton, Texas.
Booming NGL production in the Permian and Eagle Ford also has created a boom for Gulf Coast petrochemical plants. Ethane is now the primary feedstock for petrochemical plants to process raw materials used in the manufacture of plastics, packaging and a wide range of consumer products. In addition, the surplus of NGLs has presented the U.S. petrochem industry with a major advantage in terms of lower cost to process end materials and, of course, exports. Domestic ethane production this year is expected to reach 2 million Bbls per day, doubling that in 2014.
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