LyondellBasell, one of the world's largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies, has broken ground on the first commercial Hyperzone polyethylene (PE) plant at its La Porte, Texas, complex. The plant will be capable of producing 1.1 billion pounds (500,000 metric tons) of high density polyethylene (HDPE) annually and will employ LyondellBasell's new proprietary Hyperzone PE technology that provides enhanced material performance. Startup of the plant is planned for 2019.
"Today represents the launch of our latest innovation in plastics technology," said Bob Patel, LyondellBasell CEO. "The new Hyperzone PE plant will produce a better plastic that advances solutions to modern challenges, like protecting the purity of water supplies through stronger and more versatile pipes and ensuring the freshness of bulk foods by providing tough, crack-resistant containers for storage. This is truly a global effort developed by an international team, built to serve worldwide markets."
Hyperzone PE technology enables customers to produce cost-effective, light weight plastics that are strong, durable and widely recyclable. The new Hyperzone PE technology also enables the production of a broad spectrum of HDPE products in one single plant whereas previous technologies require multiple plants.
LyondellBasell is a global leader in the development and licensing of polyolefin processes. The company plans to make the Hyperzone process technology available for licensing in the future. The technology took years to advance to commercialization and was a product of LyondellBasell's global research and development teams in Ferrara, Italy; Frankfurt, Germany; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Houston, Texas.
The company chose to build the new plant at its existing La Porte Complex because of its proximity to price-advantaged U.S. feedstocks and the transportation infrastructure needed to ship product to markets across the globe. The project will create up to 1,000 jobs at the peak of construction and 75 permanent positions.
The La Porte Complex is one of LyondellBasell's largest manufacturing facilities spanning approximately 550 acres. The complex has two docks on the Houston Ship Channel and truck and rail transportation capabilities. Once the Hyperzone PE plant is complete, the La Porte Complex will more than double its annual PE capacity to 2 billion pounds (900,000 metric tons). LyondellBasell currently produces a total of 7 billion pounds (3 million metric tons) of HDPE annually, including its share of capacity through joint venture facilities. The company is a leading worldwide producer of all forms of PE with an annual capacity of 12 billion pounds (5 million metric tons).
The Hyperzone PE plant is part of LyondellBasell's plan for $3-5 billion of investments along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The company recently completed work on ethylene expansion projects at its La Porte, Channelview and Corpus Christi sites in Texas. Additionally, development of a world-scale propylene oxide and tertiary butyl alcohol (PO/TBA) plant at the company's Channelview site is progressing and a final PO/TBA investment decision is expected in the second half of 2017.