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OxyChem and Mexichem to build ethylene cracker for PVC production

Occidental Chemical Corp. (OxyChem) and Mexichem have formed a new joint venture, Ingleside Ethylene LLC, to build a 1.2 billion lb per year capacity ethylene cracker at the OxyChem plant in Ingleside, TX, along with pipelines and storage at Markham, TX.

Occidental Chemical Corp. (OxyChem) and Mexichem have formed a new joint venture, Ingleside Ethylene LLC, to build a 1.2 billion lb per year capacity ethylene cracker at the OxyChem plant in Ingleside, TX, along with pipelines and storage at Markham, TX.

Essentially all of the ethylene produced from the cracker will be consumed in the manufacture of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) utilizing existing VCM capacity. VCM will be delivered to Mexichem to produce polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and PVC piping systems.

"The ethylene cracker will strengthen the position of Mexichem by taking advantage of competitive energy and feedstock costs in the United States resulting from shale gas development," said Juan Pablo del Valle Perochena, chairman of the Board, Mexichem, in a news release.

In 1998, Mexichem was selected as the new name for an industrial group made up of Química Pennwalt  and Polímeros de México. The strategic focus was business development in the chemical industry, especially in chlorine derivatives. Today, Mexichem is a major producer of PVC pipes.

"The high degree of integration between the two companies from the wellhead through the use of VCM as a raw material in the manufacturing PVC pipe will also create highly competitive assets on a global basis," said Chuck Anderson, president of OxyChem.

OxyChem, which will build and operate the cracker, has taken a number of relevant steps needed to begin construction, which include: completed the front-end engineering and design; received draft permits from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; and applied for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency permits in December 2012. OxyChem expects to award the engineering and construction contract in the fourth quarter of 2013, with construction beginning in mid-2014 and the facilities becoming commercially operational in the first quarter of 2017.

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