Westlake Chemical Corp. is investing $140 million in an expansion of its Geismar plant.
The company has notified the Louisiana economic development department that it plans to add 110 million pounds per year of suspension polyvinyl chloride. Westlake Chemical also is pursuing a vinyl chloride monomer and polyvinyl chloride expansion that will boost its annual Geismar volume of those products to a combined 1 billion pounds, through the addition of 270 million pounds of PVC and 150 million pounds of VCM.
VCM is the key material for making PVC. Westlake says PVC is the world's third most widely used plastic as an alternative to traditional materials such as glass, metal, wood and other plastic materials. PVC is used in making products such as pipe, plastic bottles, non-food packaging and plastic cards and softer forms in plumbing, electrical cable insulation, imitation leather, signage, phonograph records and inflatable products.
Westlake also announced on Monday expansions in Germany of specialty PVC at its Burghausen plant and VCM production at its Gendorf plant, along with additional chlor-alkali capacity.
Expansions in Geismar and Burghausen are expected to be completed in 2019. The expansions in Gendorf are expected to be completed in 2020 and 2021.
LED said the company plans to apply for traditional state incentives — the Industrial Tax Exemption and Quality Jobs programs — but has not yet indicated how many new jobs it will create through the expansion projects.
Westlake Chemical has about 175 jobs in Geismar. Statewide, including a location in Plaquemine and multiple locations in the Lake Charles area, the company employs more than 2,000 people.
Through a joint venture with Lotte Chemical, Westlake Chemical is building a new ethane cracker facility in Lake Charles with a combined $1.9 billion investment. Adjacent to that project, Lotte Chemical is building a $1.1 billion monoethylene glycol complex. Those combined projects are supporting 3,000 construction jobs, while creating 265 new permanent jobs and resulting in more than 2,300 indirect jobs in southwest Louisiana.