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OxyChem, Mexichem ethylene cracker JV begins operations in Texas

A 50/50 ethylene cracker joint venture between multinational corporation Occidental Chemical Corporation (OxyChem) and Mexico-based Mexichem, SAB de CV has begun operations at OxyChem’s complex in Ingleside, Texas according tothe set schedule and budget.

The joint venture, Ingleside Ethylene, LLC, said the ethylene cracker is currently in a production stabilization phase andwill be operated by OxyChem. It has the capacity to produce 1.2 billion pounds (550,000 cubic meters) of ethylene per year and provide OxyChem with an ongoing source of ethylene for manufacturing vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), which Mexichem will use to produce polyvinyl chloride (PVC resin) and PVC piping systems. The companies have a 20-year supply agreement.

“We are pleased to announce the safe startup of the ethylene cracker at our plant in Ingleside. This is a significant milestone for both OxyChem and Mexichem, enabling us to capitalize on the advantages that shale gas development presents for the chemical industry. It also helps our companies better compete globally in our respective markets, and gives us an inherent advantage to manage the cost of ethylene,” said Robert Peterson, President, OxyChem.

“This is a great example of the excellent long-term partnership that Mexichem has with OxyChem, and we are proud that the ethylene plant was constructed safely, on time and on budget. The facility’s cutting-edge technology makes it one of the most modern in the world. For Mexichem, the ethylene plant is a vital part of our global strategy to become a vertically integrated specialty chemicals company with a focus on high-end products,” said Antonio Carrillo, Chief Executive Officer, Mexichem.

The project also includes a pipeline and storage facility at Markham, Texas. Total investment in the project was approximately US$1.5 billion and the facility will provide 150 permanent jobs. Construction began in the second quarter of 2014. In December 2013, Ingleside Ethylene, LLC awarded CB&I the engineering and construction contract to build the cracker.

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