Ethylene supplier plans production increases

A Cincinnati, OH, company has announced it plans to increase its polyethylene, ethylene and acetic acid production capacities to meet strong market demand.

Quantum Chemical Co.'s plans include increasing the capacities of their three ethylene plants, restarting an idled linear low-density polyethylene reactor, debottlenecking polyethylene reactors and completing the construction of a gas-phase plant.

Quantum will restart its idled linear low-density polyethylene gas-phase reactor at its Morris, IL, plant in mid-1996. Prior to start up, the latest technology improvements will be incorporated in the unit. Quantum temporarily suspended operation of the 250-million lb./year trait in 1991 due to an oversupply. By debottlenecking other units within the system and completing tile gas-phase plant at La Porte, TX, another 500-million lb./year of capacity will be added.

"It has been our intent to restart the linear low-density polyethylene reactor and to complete our gas-phase plant once the supply/demand balance improved. Industry capacity for polyethylene is currently running at high utilization rates and markets are projected to grow at 4% to 5% annually," Ronald H. Yocum, president and CEO, said.

A debottlenecking of the Morris and Clinton, IA, units will supply ethylene to operate the restarted linear low-density polyethylene reactor. The Morris unit will be debottlenecked to add 70-million lb./year of capacity by mid-1996. The Clinton plant will add another 80-million lb./year of capacity by mid-1997.

Quantum also plans to increase the capacity of its La Porte ethylene plant by adding furnace capacity and further debottlenecking. The first phase will increase the ethylene capacity from 1.5- to 1.9-billion lb./year by the end of 1996. A second phase will increase the capacity to 2.2-billion lb./year by the end of 1997.

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