Braskem Says Future Investment in Marcus Hook Still Possible

Nearly five years ago, in July 2012, then-PA Gov. Tom Corbett announced that some of the Sunoco Marcus Hook Refinery assets had been purchased by Braskem America (see Marcellus to the Rescue: Marcus Hook Refinery to Reopen). Braskem, a division of Brazilian company Odebrecht, uses the Marcus Hook facility to manufacture polypropylene plastics. The facility gets some of (most of?) its raw materials (i.e. ethane) from the Marcellus Shale. Interestingly, Braskem’s US operations are headquartered in Philadelphia. When it came time to invest $675 million to build a new polypropylene plant–Braskem chose Texas as the site, not Marcus Hook in their own back yard. Which is a huge disappointment. Why the Texas Gulf Coast? Because of “a ready supply of raw material from nearby petrochemical operations.” But that may not be the end of the story. Braskem CEO Mark Nikolich said just because they chose Texas for this project, doesn’t mean they still don’t love Marcus Hook just as much–and it doesn’t rule out expanding the Philly plant in the future. Just as soon as there’s more ethane available (hello Mariner East 2!)…

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