Shin-Etsu Confirms Completion of the First Phase of Shintech’s PVC Expansion Project by Mid-2021
- Journalist: Jaideep Kumar
Shintech Inc., the largest polyvinyl chloride (PVC) producer in USA is on track of expanding its first phase of PVC facility which is under construction in Louisiana, said the parent company Shin-Etsu while releasing its quarterly earnings. The Japanese parent firm confirmed that the first phase of the PVC project should be completed by mid-2021.
With the commissioning of the first phase, the PVC plant capacity shall be increased by around 57%, from the current 0.64 million mt/year to 1 million mt/ year. In July 2018, Shintech broke grounds in a greenfield site in Plaquemine, Louisiana for this new integrated complex at an estimated cost of USD 1.49 billion.
Originally, the project was expected to be completed in late 2020, however its completion was rescheduled to mid-2021 due to COVID-19 protocols which restricted the number of personnel employed, among several other supply and demand side limitations. The startup was earlier scheduled in early 2021 which is now to postponed to sometime between Q3 and Q4.
The phase one expansion also includes a new vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) (feedstock for PVC) unit with up to 1 million mt/year capacity. An Ethylene Dichloride (EDC) unit with the production capacity of 680,388 mt/year will also be a part of the phase one expansion. A new chlor-alkali capacity of up to 635 KPTA of Chlorine and 726 KTPA of Caustic Soda will also be set up to serve as feed for the PVC manufacturing.
Shin-Etsu also revealed its plans to build an additional unit in the second phase that will add on to the current PVC capacity to make it to 1.38 million mt/year which will cost around USD 1.25 billion. The second phase is expected to get completed in 2023.
Amidst skyrocketing demand for PVC from construction and infrastructure sectors, Shintech is not the only one in the race of US PVC producers ramping up their production. Westlake Chemicals and Formosa Plastics USA both have expanded their PVC plant capacity to meet soaring demand. While Westlake Chemical’s PVC expansion was completed in early 2020, Formosa Plastics USA is undergoing PVC plant expansion at its Louisiana facility which will be concluded by Q4 this year.
As per ChemAnalyst “The US PVC market has been running tight since Q4 2020, which remained firstly affected by the landfall of hurricane Laura and then by subfreezing temperatures that halted around 60% of the US PVC production in mid-February. The market tightness retained the upwards pressure on the PVC price curve throughout April with no short-term ease expected unless the production volumes return back at normal levels no sooner than May 2021.”