Plant Openings: Lotte Chemical starts up EG facility in the US; Socar commissions HDPE plant in Azerbaijan


South Korea’s Lotte Chemical has started up production at its ethylene glycol (EG) plant in Calcasieu Parish, Lake Charles in the US. It will produce 700,000 tonnes/year of EG. The company says it is the first South Korean petrochemical firm to have a project in the US.

The project, which is part of a US$3.1 billion project, broke ground in 2016 and will also include an ethane cracker plant.

“This project represents a significant investment by Lotte Chemical,” said Jinkoo Hwang, Lotte Chemical USA President/CEO.

When the facility is complete it will also include an ethane cracker plant, which will perform the first steps in the process of transforming natural gas into plastics. Together, the plants are expected to create more than 250 new direct jobs and over 2,000 indirect jobs over time, the company says.

Socar Polymer HDPE plant

In other news, Socar Polymer, a subsidiary of state-owned State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic, has started up a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plant in the Sumgait Chemical Industrial Park (SCIP) about 30 km north of Baku.

The 120,000-tonne/year HDPE plant, which officially started up in February this year, will produce four varieties of HDPE to meet Azerbaijan’s demand, with the remaining 75% of product manufactured at the plant to be exported to Turkey and Europe, according to Socar.

The first HDPE plant for Azerbaijan follows commissioning of the country’s first polypropylene (PP) plant by Socar last year, which is slated to produce 184,000 tonnes/year and ten PP grades.

The PP plant delivered its first export product to Turkey in October 2018, according to Socar.

Socar also said it expects the two plants to generate US$6.6 billion in revenue, 30% of which will be the company’s net profit.

Founded in 2013 to accelerate development of Azerbaijan’s chemical industry, Socar Polymer is the first petrochemical company in Azerbaijan based on a public-private partnership, shareholders of which include Socar 52.2%, Vitol Group 19%, Pasha Holding 9.9%, Ecoland 9.8%, Polymer Investments 5%, and AKKIK 4.1%.


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