Westlake Chemical begins restart of Kentucky complex

Westlake Chemical Corp., Houston, has initiated restart of its Calvert City, Ky., petrochemical complex after a mechanical failure of the 630 million-lb/year ethylene unit shuttered the entire complex in early June.

The Calvert City complex began the restart process on July 18, Westlake Chemical said.

The outage, which halted all production of ethylene as well as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), ethylene dichloride (EDC), and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) resins, will negatively impact financial results for second and third-quarters 2016 by about $40 million total, with nearly half this amount to occur during the third quarter, according to Westlake Chemical.

While Westlake Chemical, its subsidiaries, and affiliates have declared force majeure at the Calvert City complex as a result of the outage, the company said it continues to work with customers and suppliers to mitigate losses and meet supply needs as production at the complex gradually resumes.

In January 2016, affiliate Westlake Chemical OpCo LP (OpCo), which is responsible for Westlake Chemical’s ethylene production, announced plans for a $70-80 million project that will expand ethylene capacity at the Calvert City plant by 70 million lb/year, Westlake Chemical said in its 2015 annual report to investors.

Due to be completed during first-half 2017, OpCo’s Calvert City plant expansion, combined with other incremental improvements amounting to 30 million lb/year in added capacity, would increase overall ethylene production at the Kentucky complex to 730 million lb/year, according to the company.

Alongside ethylene and EDC, the Calvert City complex also produces the following:

• 1.3 billion lb/year of commodity PVC.

• 1.3 billion lb/year of VCM.

• 550 million lb/year of chlorine.

• 605 million lb/year of caustic soda.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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