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Sunday, October 26, 2014
Southwest Louisiana ,
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Axiall Corp. held an unveiling ceremony for its logoed storage tank in August of 2013. The tank, which previously displayed the PPG logo, is visible from Interstate 210 and various waterways. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)<br />

Axiall Corp. held an unveiling ceremony for its logoed storage tank in August of 2013. The tank, which previously displayed the PPG logo, is visible from Interstate 210 and various waterways. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)

Axiall eyes Westlake plant for new ethane cracker

Last Modified: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 11:59 AM

By Frank DiCesare / American Press

If Axiall executives have their way, they will build a new ethane cracker on land next to their Westlake plant.

In an email to the American Press on Monday, Alan Chapple, spokesman for Axiall, said the company filed for a wetlands permit application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, specifying its Westlake plant “as the preferred location” for the proposed facility. The estimated $2 billion plant would produce about 2 billion tons of ethylene per year.

“We currently are engaged in a front-end engineering and design study, which, when completed near the end of the year, should provide Axiall’s management team and board of directors with the information needed to decide whether to pursue this project at the appropriate time,” Chapple said.

In February, Axiall and Lotte Chemical of South Korea signed a preliminary agreement to build an ethane cracker in Southwest Louisiana. If the project is approved, Chapple added, Lotte Chemical would also build and operate a “wholly owned monoethylene glycol facility adjacent to the ethylene plant.” When combined, the total estimated cost of both facilities would be $3 billion.

The project remains “proposed” until the board of directors of Axiall and Lotte Chemical give their final approval to move ahead, Chapple said. He added that Axiall executives have been meeting with people in the region to solicit their input on the project.

“Their feedback is important, because if we do move forward with this project, a primary goal is to ensure that it has a lasting positive impact on for the people of Southwest Louisiana,” he said. “In the event that unforeseen obstacles could pop up, I would hesitate to say that this will definitely be the site; it is our preferred site.”

If approved, the project is expected to create between 2,000 to 3,000 temporary construction jobs, 250 direct jobs, and an estimated 2,200 new external jobs to support the plants, Chapple said.

Jean Kelly, public information officer for the state Department of Environmental Quality, said Axiall has not yet applied for air and water permits for their proposed project.

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