Plants: Roehm to close MMA plant in Louisiana, US; LG Chem considering sale of naphtha cracker facility in South Korea

Roehm to close MMA plant in Louisiana

Chemical firm Roehm will end methyl methacrylate (MMA) production at its Westwego, Louisiana, US, plant in June 2025. The plant will continue to process material and supply the market until the scheduled closure. It is in line with the start-up of the LiMA facility in Bay City, Texas, by 2024 – a new world-scale MMA production plant, adds the firm.

The plant manufactures a variety of methacrylate products which are building block monomers used in a wide range of applications including coatings, plastics, and construction. The decision to close the plant will impact approximately 70 salaried and hourly employees.

"The closure of the Westwego plant comes after strategic financial and production network analysis, taking into account the improved efficiency and distribution that our future Bay City, Texas plant will provide," said Jack Chenault, President, Roehm America.

The company will provide guidance and support to impacted employees by partnering with industry resources and the United Steel Workers union. This advance notice and collaboration with all stakeholders is intended to ensure a smooth transition and mitigate hardships for affected employees, including providing a financial package.

In 2022, Roehm announced the groundbreaking and ongoing construction of a new world-scale MMA production plant in Bay City, Texas. Once completed, the new plant will produce 250,000 tonnes/year of MMA and create 70 direct jobs. Construction continues on-schedule, with production expected to begin in the first half of 2024.

LG Chem considering sale of naphtha cracker facility in South Korea

In other news, South Korean firm LG Chem is considering selling off of one of its two naphtha cracking facilities in Yeosu, South Jeolla, named Yeosu Naphtha Cracking Centre (NCC), due to weak demand for petrochemical products. The chemical company said that “nothing has been decided yet,” in a regulatory filing. The sale is estimated at about US$2.3 billion and is part of its business reshuffle to bolster new growth drivers and higher-value-added products to ward off Chinese rivals.

Naphtha, derived from crude oil, is a key material for plastics and rubber. At the 330,000-sq-m Yeosu NCC Complex 2, LG Chem has been producing ethylene and propylene, yet halted the operation of the plant after a maintenance break in April.

The facility, which completed expansion in 2021, has an ethylene production capacity of 800,000 tonnes/year and a propylene capacity of 480,000 tonnes/year

Following the reports, LG Chem said recently that the company is “considering various measures to improve its competitiveness in petrochemicals and ramp up business value, yet nothing has been decided yet.”

LG Chem’s chemical segment posted an operating loss of US$38 million in the first quarter this year, staying in the red for the second consecutive quarter.


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