LyondellBasell to Deploy New Tech for Texas HDPE Project

LyondellBasell announced Friday that it will build a new high density polyethylene (HDPE) plant at its LaPorte, Texas, manufacturing complex.

"This project represents the next generation of technology," stated Bob Patel, LyondellBasell CEO and management board chairman, in a press release. "This location is ideal for this facility because of the feedstock advantage we enjoy, the ability to ship product around the world and, most importantly, the outstanding workforce that the Gulf Coast has to offer."

According to LyondellBasell, the new HDPE plant will boast an annual capacity of 1.1 billion pounds (500,000 metric tons). It reportedly will be the first commercial plan to use the company's proprietary Hyperzone PE technology, developed at LyondellBasell research and development centers in Germany and Italy. HDPE resins made with the technology exhibit improved stress crack resistance, improved balance between stiffness and impact strength and may allow customers to use less PE per unit produced, the company noted.

LyondellBasell expects to break ground on the project early next year, and it anticipates up to 1,000 construction jobs. With a projected 2019 start-up, the project will create as many as 75 full-time positions, the company added.

The 540-acre LaPorte complex, which sits on the south shore of the Houston Ship Channel, produces ethylene, propylene, linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), methanol, acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM). Bottles, bags, food packaging and healthcare articles are some of the plastic products containing the thermoplastics LLDPE, LDPE and HDPE while household latex paint, adhesives and automotive safety glass use VAM, the company stated.

The Hyperzone PE project is the latest in a string of expansions that LyondellBasell has executed along the Texas Gulf Coast. The company said that it recently completed ethylene expansion projects at its LaPorte and Channelview sites. Also, it noted that it is adding ethylene capacity at its facility in Corpus Christi and plans to develop a world-scale propylene oxide and tertiary butyl alcohol (PO/TBA) plant at Channelview.