USA: Polyethylene Project Lyondell Basell to Build High Density Polyethylene Plant on U.S. Gulf Coast

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Materials specialist Lyondell Basell has announced plans to build a new 500,000 tons/year polyethylenen plant in Texas, using its new Hyperzone PE technology.

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Houston, Texas/USA – Lyondell Basell, one of the world's largest plastics, chemical and refining companies, has made the final investment decision to build a High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Plant on the U.S. Gulf Coast. The plant will have an annual capacity of 1.1 billion pounds (500,000 metric tons) and will be the first commercial plant to employ Lyondell Basell's new proprietary Hyperzone PE technology.

The project is expected to create up to 1,000 jobs at the peak of construction and as many as 75 permanent positions. Start-up is planned for 2019.

"Innovation is key to our future success. This new proprietary technology will have the capability to produce a wide range of HDPE products with enhanced properties, many of which have the potential to exceed industry benchmarks," said Bob Patel, Lyondell Basell's CEO.

HDPE is used in numerous applications such as pipe, bottles, containers, toys, film, healthcare articles, plastic fuel tanks and industrial packaging. Lyondell Basell's Hyperzone PE enhanced properties include improved stress crack resistance and enhanced balance between stiffness and impact strength.

The Hyperzone PE technology is a cascade gas phase process based on Lyondell Basell's unique Multizone circulating reactor technology and was developed at Lyondell Basell's European research and development centers located in Frankfurt, Germany, and Ferrara, Italy. The new proprietary technology will have the capability to produce a wide range of high-performance multi-modal HDPE products. In certain applications, Hyperzone PE resins allow customers to use less PE resin per unit produced, resulting in improved resource efficiency and savings for customers. While the Hyperzone PE plant will be located on the U.S. Gulf Coast, the products produced will serve markets across the globe.

"We are continuing to invest in growth-oriented projects like Hyperzone PE, where we see long term feedstock advantage," Patel added. "We believe that the combination of our latest polyolefins technology and new ethylene capacity from low cost debottlenecks will provide a good return on investment. Additionally, this project enhances our ethylene integration strategy, allowing us to capture value across the ethylene value chain."

Lyondell Basell currently produces a total of 7.8 billion pounds (3.5 million metric tons) of HDPE annually, including capacity of its joint venture facilities. The company is a leading worldwide producer of all forms of PE with an annual capacity of 13.2 billion pounds (6 million metric tons). Consumer products made from PE are commonly recycled.

Lyondell Basell is a global leader in the development and licensing of polyolefin processes and related catalysts and plans to make the Hyperzone PE technology available for licensing in the future. The company has over 250 polypropylene and polyethylene lines licensed worldwide.

The Hyperzone PE project is part of Lyondell Basell's ongoing growth plan. Recently, the company completed work on ethylene expansion projects at the company's La Porte and Channelview sites in Texas. A third ethylene expansion project is currently underway in Corpus Christi, Texas. Additionally, development of a world scale propylene oxide and tertiary butyl alcohol (PO/TBA) plant at the company'sChannelview site is progressing.