Olefins CrackerFormosa Plastics Corporation, U.S.A. will invest more than $1.7 billion in capital equipment and construction at its Point Comfort, Texas site. The investment will increase the security and flexibility of the company’s raw and intermediate material supplies, as well as the reliability and breadth of the company’s products. The investment consists of a new, grass-roots 800,000 MT/Y olefins cracker, an associated 600,000 MT/Y propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit and a new 300,000 MT/Y low density polyethylene (LDPE) resin plant. The company anticipates construction completion and start-up in 2016.
Change in PlansCaterpillar Inc. has ruled Illinois out of plans to relocate a factory and 1,400 jobs from Japan, citing both logistical problems with building the plant in its home state and ongoing concerns about the business climate. Caterpillar considered factors such as access to ports and local labor markets, as well as proximity to Caterpillar’s building and construction projects division headquarters in Cary, North Carolina. The existing Caterpillar plant, now located in Sagami, Japan, manufactures excavators and small tractors. The company plans to move those operations to the new site and retool the Japanese plant to manufacture components for a range of Caterpillar machines. The company still plans to announce the location by April 1, start construction in mid-2013 and be at full capacity in four to five years.
Nutritional PlantAbbott Laboratories will spend $270 million on a new plant in Ohio where it will employ 240 workers to make nutritional drinks for adults. The plant is to produce the company’s Ensure and Glucerna products in aseptic packaging for the North American market. Abbott expects to begin building the plant in April and finish in late 2013.
Refinery ProjectRefining New Zealand is looking to lift operating profits. Up to 300 extra jobs will be created in Northland at a planned $365 million expansion project at the Marsden Point refinery. This is the plant’s third major upgrade in the past decade.
Expansion TargetA $15.7 billion energy venture in Papua New Guinea operated by ExxonMobil Corp. may know by the end of the year if it has enough gas for an expansion that could vastly improve its profitability. PNG LNG is one of the largest and most complex energy projects under construction in the world. An expansion to three liquefied natural gas (LNG) production units from the two currently planned could give a major boost to Oil Search, for whom the PNG LNG project is its flagship investment. An expansion could also benefit Papua New Guinea.
Synthetic Rubber PlantLanxess is going ahead and building a second synthetic rubber plant costing 200 million Euros. The company cited strong demand, especially in Asia, for green, environmentally friendly tires. With engineering work already well advanced, Lanxess will break ground on the neodymium polybutadiene facility on September 11 with the plant on Jurong Island expected to start up in the first half of 2015.