Final Decision: Axiall Building Ethane Cracker in LA…NE Ethane?

Two years ago Axiall Corporation, the former Georgia Gulf/PPG, announced a plan to build a $3 billion ethane cracker/petrochemical facility in Louisiana. The facility, as we noted at the time, will almost certainly use at least some ethane coming from the Marcellus/Utica region (see Axiall Announces New Cracker Plant for LA, Fed by NE Ethane). As we know only too well, making a “final investment decision” (FID) about whether or not to spend $3 billion of a company’s money (or more correctly go into debt and spend other people’s money), and take upward of 3-4 years to build a plant, is not something you just decide to do willy-nilly. It takes a looooooooooong time to get to that point. Shell announced a cracker for Pennsylvania back in 2012 and they still haven’t made an FID. It was certainly a good sign from Axiall when they announced a partnership with Lotte Chemical for their new Louisiana cracker project (see 4th World Class Marcellus/Utica Ethane Cracker…in Louisiana??). Lightening has struck! Last Friday Axiall and Lotte announced an FID has been reached and indeed they are moving forward. Horray! Of course it would be more exciting if that plant were located in PA, WV or OH rather than Lake Charles, LA (where they have enough crackers already). But we’ll take these victories when and where we can. The expected startup date is 2019…

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