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  Latest News  
  December 13,  2004
Volume 82, Number 50
p. 6


  Shin-Etsu Slates U.S. PVC Complex
Integrated project on the Gulf Coast will revive plans from late 1990s

Japan's Shin-Etsu Chemical says it will spend $1 billion to build an integrated polyvinyl chloride complex on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Shin-Etsu plans to build the complex on one of the three sites--Freeport, Texas; Plaquemine, La.; and Addis, La.--operated by its U.S. PVC subsidiary Shintech. The company says the project will "further solidify" its number one position in the world PVC market.

Unlike its facilities in Japan and Europe, Shin-Etsu's U.S. PVC plants obtain vinyl chloride feedstock from a third party, Dow Chemical. The proposed complex, however, will be integrated with its own vinyl chloride as well as chlorine and caustic soda.

Shin-Etsu says the facilities will be built in phases to be completed in late 2006 and late 2007. By then, the complex will have capacity for 1.0 billion lb per year of chlorine, 1.1 billion lb of caustic soda, 1.65 billion lb of vinyl chloride, and 1.3 billion lb of PVC. Shin-Etsu says it is also evaluating building a U.S. ethylene plant.

The company, which claims a 30% share of the North American PVC market, tried to build a similar integrated plant in Convent, La., in the late 1990s. However, it dropped the project in the face of environmental opposition and opted instead to build a PVC-only plant adjacent to Dow's Plaquemine site. In 2002, Shin-Etsu acquired a Borden Chemicals & Plastics PVC plant in Addis that is currently idle for lack of feedstock.

If Shintech chooses Plaquemine or Addis, Vice President Ervin E. Schroeder expects the local community will be receptive, now that the company "has a positive record to build on in Louisiana." The decision to build in the U.S. is rare these days for big petrochemical projects. Schroeder says it reflects the Japanese firm's confidence in the country's political stability and economic strength.

  Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2004

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