Braskem (B3: BRKM3, BRKM5 and BRKM6; NYSE: BAK; LATIBEX: XBRK), the largest polyolefins producer in the Americas and leading producer of biopolymers in the world, today announces the construction completion of its newest, world-class polypropylene production facility located in La Porte, Texas.
Braskem's new facility has a designed production capacity of over 450 kilotons (kt) or 1 billion pounds per year and has the capability to produce the entire polypropylene portfolio including a broad range of polypropylene products including homopolymer, impact copolymer and random copolymers. The construction of the facility positively affected the economy in the Texas Gulf Coast region, which employed approximately 1,300 development and construction workers to build the facility. An additional 50 Braskem permanent full-time jobs were created to support long-term commercial production.
Mark Nikolich, Braskem America CEO, states, "We are proud to announce the milestone of construction completion for our new polypropylene production facility, the newest in the United States. This world scale facility is a confirmation to our clients around the world that Braskem is committed to investing in their future. As commercial production begins later this year, Braskem will position the new facility's domestic production capabilities to replace imported polypropylene volumes, which are currently addressing the shortfall in the United States' domestic market. Commercial production activity at the facility, in conjunction with our new Global Export Hub in Charleston, South Carolina, will also directly support Braskem's global export capability to its clients throughout North America, South America, Europe, and Asia."
The commissioning process is currently ongoing, with Braskem now focused on completing all necessary steps to ensure a safe and successful startup, including the implementation of COVID-19 enhanced facility health and safety guidelines to help protect Braskem team members and contractors alike. During this phase, the company is concluding functional tests and process tests to verify performance of controls and integrated safety systems. Initial production test runs are anticipated to begin in the next month with the first full scale commercial production activity currently expected in the third quarter of 2020.
"The COVID impact on the North American polypropylene industry during April and May affected durable segments such as automotive. However, this impact was partially mitigated with strong sales in nonwovens and packaging applications. In June, demand improved and Braskem's North American polypropylene outlook for the third quarter is positive as clients are ramping up operations and demand has rebounded. Braskem is well-positioned to start up our new world-class polypropylene production line in the current market. The company's global supply chain has made preparations to leverage North America's competitive propylene and polypropylene position for exports supporting our clients in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. The combination of improved demand, planned outages in the third quarter, and export opportunities will support a smooth ramp up of the new facility", commented Alexandre Elias, Vice President, Polypropylene North America.
For additional information on Braskem's new production line, please visit online at www.braskem.com/usa/delta .