Westlake Chemical will expand plants in Kentucky and Louisiana

Westlake Chemical CEO Albert Chao has highlighted production rates in Kentucky. (Houston Chronicle)
Westlake Chemical CEO Albert Chao has highlighted production rates in Kentucky. (Houston Chronicle)

Houston-based Westlake Chemical said Friday it authorized an expansion of its petrochemical plant in Calvert City, Kentucky, and that it will launch a growth project after March in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Both projects aim at increasing Westlake’s capacity to produce ethylene, a primary building block of plastics, as the company continues to ride the nation’s petrochemical boom. Many chemical companies in the U.S. have boosted their ethylene production because of the cheap and abundant natural gas from U.S. shale that serves as a primary feedstock in the petrochemical manufacturing process.

Westlake said it will add 70 million pounds of annual ethylene production at the Calvert City plant. It said the project will be completed by mid-2017, but did not respond to FuelFix inquiries about project costs and requests for interviews.

In a larger expansion, Westlake will begin construction in the second quarter on a 250 million-pound ethylene expansion at its Petro 1 plant in Lake Charles as part of a $350 million project.

In a November conference call to discuss third-quarter financial results, Westlake CEO Albert Chao highlighted the company’s strong production rates in Kentucky.

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