Indorama to purchase and restart dormant cracker at Lake Charles, LA

02:51 AM | September 23, 2015 | Robert Westervelt

Indorama Ventures (Bangkok) has announced plans to invest $175 million to restart an ethane cracker near Lake Charles, LA that was idled by Equistar in 2001. Indorama Ventures expects to restart the plant by the end of 2017.

Indorama purchased the site from Occidental Chemical, a former joint venture partner in Equistar, according to sources. The Lake Charles plant had capacity for 385,000 m.t./year of ethylene and 90,000 m.t./year of propylene when it was idled by Equistar in first-quarter 2001. Equistar at that time was a joint venture between Lyondell Chemical, Millennium Chemical and Occidental Chemical and Occidental leased the land and facilities to Equistar. Equistar is now a wholly owned subsidiary of LyondellBasell.

The project will make 370,000 m.t./year of ethylene and 30,000 m.t./year of propylene with the facility capable of processing both ethane and propane, according to a statement from Indorama Ventures and Louisiana Economic Development (Baton Rouge, LA).

Indorama Ventures previously acquired the Clear Lake, TX-based ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol business of Old World Industries in 2012.

“This acquisition will make us well-placed to receive cost-advantaged ethane and propane feedstock,” says Indorama Ventures CEO Aloke Lohia. “We are targeting a commercial startup before the end of 2017, which will make us the first Thai company to take advantage of the shale gas revolution in the United States and ahead of the greenfield crackers being constructed.”