Formosa plastics boosts size of planned chemical plants in Texas

Formosa Plastics Group, Taiwan’s biggest diversified industrial company, filed applications for two Texas chemical plants that proposed larger capacities than previously announced.

Its ethylene plant in Point Comfort, about 120 miles southwest of Houston, will be capable of producing 1.15 million short tons (1.04 million metric tons) a year, the company’s Formosa Plastics Corp. USA unit said in an application submitted Dec. 11 to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That’s 30 percent larger than what the company said in February.

An adjacent propylene plant will have a capacity of 725,000 short tons, according to an application for an air-emissions permit received by EPA. That’s 10 percent more than what the company said in February.

Formosa has joined Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Dow Chemical Co. in seeking to build the first new U.S. ethylene plants since 2001. Hydraulic fracturing has increased supplies of natural gas liquids such as ethane and propane, which are converted to ethylene and propylene for use in plastics and textiles.

Formosa said in February it will invest more than $1.7 billion to build the two factories and a polyethylene plastics plant at the site creating 225 long-term jobs. Kelly Burn, a Formosa spokeswoman, didn’t immediately respond to a call today seeking comment.