Oil and Petrochemicals
Remain Good Formula
The largest capital project of the year thus far in the state is Shintech Louisiana's planned $1-billion PVC plant south of Plaquemine. It will be the first integrated complex for the subsidiary of Shin-Etsu Chemical of Tokyo. Since it will make some of its raw materials, it will allow the company to expand its Louisiana capacity by 1.3 billion pounds. The company currently operates a facility in Addis, La.
Louisiana's petrochemical industry produces about 25 percent of U.S. petrochemicals including basic chemicals, plastics and fertilizers. Annual production at the approximately 100 facilities operating in the state is valued at nearly $20
Other projects are also building on the state's industrial pillars of oil refining and petrochemicals.
Dow Chemical, which employs more than 6,000 across the state and is its largest petrochemical producer, has two major projects in the works. Dow will build a specialty alkanolamines facility at its complex in Plaquemine. Slated to come online in early 2007, it will replace current capacity in Midland, Mich., and South Charleston, W.Va.
Dow is also building a new latex facility at its St. Charles complex in Hahnville. The $100-million investment promises to create 30 jobs.
Citgo Petroleum Corp.'s $293-million expansion at its Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex, completed in March 2005, makes it the fourth largest refinery in the U.S. The expansion boosts the facility's crude processing capacity from 325,000 to 440,000 barrels per day. The project features a crude vacuum distillation tower, the largest vacuum tower in the world set in one piece.
Sasol North America has moved its research and development staff from Austin, Texas to Westlake, in southwest Louisiana. The 43-member R&D staff includes research scientists, chemists, engineers and support personnel.
"The move is being made to reduce costs and locate research scientists closer to the company's largest manufacturing facility where they can interact more readily with plant personnel," said Dan Plummer, research and development manager.
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