Indorama’s Lake Charles steam cracker startup pushed to 2020

(Courtesy Indorama)

Although Indorama’s Lake Charles steam cracker was mechanically complete in May, the plant likely won’t fully start up until January 2020.

In its latest quarterly earnings relase last week, the company said the availability of cheap spot ethylene amid other cracker startups reduced the pressure to ramp up its own unit.

Indorama bought the cracker from Occidental Chemical in 2015 and launched an extensive revamp to increase its capacity to the current level from 370,000 mt/year. OxyChem had shut the cracker in 2001. Originally planned for commissioning in late 2017, the refurbished cracker—jointly owned by IVP (76%) and Singapore-based Indorama Corp. (24%)—is designed to process both ethane and propane feedstock from US shale to produce about ethylene and propylene.

The cracker’s output “has not been commercialized due mainly to implementation of technical improvements discovered during the testing phase, since spot ethylene availability at a low cost can meet our captive needs,” the company said. “We foresee startup of this facility on a permanent basis starting January 2020.”