ORLANDO (ICIS)–The second wave of new polyethylene (PE) capacity builds in North America is underway, and these new plants will be necessary to cover expanding global demand for PE, said John Thayer, senior vice president of PE at NOVA, on the sidelines of the National Plastics Exposition (NPE) on Thursday.
NOVA will be participating in the second wave of capacity builds through its part in Bayport Polymers, a 50-50 joint venture between Total and Novealis. Novealis is a 50-50 JV between NOVA and Borealis. The Bayport Polymers joint venture agreement is expected to be finalised within the next few weeks.
Bayport Polymers is considering building a 625,000 tonnes/year plant to produce BORSTAR high density polyethylene (HDPE) with a planned start date of 2021, although a final investment decision (FID) on the plant has not been reached.
“BORSTAR would be a new technology in North America and can serve a variety of applications for pipes, wire and cable and films,” Thayer stated.
In Canada, NOVA is planning to raise the capacity of its cracker in Corunna, Ontario by 50% and will build a new AST2 octene (C8) linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) plant with a capacity of 950m lb/year (approximately 430,000 tonnes/year) in the Sarnia region of Ontario. The additional ethylene will be used as a feedstock for the new LLDPE plant.
NOVA is also considering adding derivative capacity at the site of its cracker in Geismar, Louisiana. The Geismar cracker can produce 1.95bn lb/year (approximately 885,000 tonnes/year) of ethylene and currently sells all of this ethylene on the merchant market. There is some land near the cracker that could potentially house a derivative plant.
“We see the new capacity being built in North America as necessary to meet rising global demand for PE and are optimistic about the second wave of new US PE builds heading into the next decade,” Thayer commented.
Touching on the possible impact of an escalating trade dispute between China and the US, Thayer said: “We believe that free and fair trade is the most advantageous situation for both consumers and industry. Heightened trade tensions may cause some demand destruction and unnecessary turbulence in the market, and we hope that tensions between China and the US will be resolved soon. We also believe that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been beneficial for the plastics industry and should be preserved.”
On the issues of sustainability, NOVA said that they are eager to work with industry associations across the globe to develop solutions to keep plastic waste out of the environment.
“We are developing new product lines that are more recyclable, such as packaging pouches made from a single polymer,” Thayer said.