Taipei, July 29, 2011 (CENS)--Formosa Plastics U.S.A. will expand the annual capacity of ethylene of its naphtha cracking complex by 800,000 metric tons, from the original plan of 450,000 metric tons, with the investment amount exceeding US$1.5 billion (NT$43.2 billion), much higher than US$900 million (NT$25.9 billion) originally, said Li Chih-tsun, chairman of Formosa Plastics, yesterday (July 28).
The expansion project is for the third naphtha cracker of Formosa Plastics U.S.A., which embraces shale gas as raw material, different from the first and second naphtha crackers, which use naphtha as raw material. Following the completion of the expansion project, by 2015 at the latest, Formosa Plastics U.S.A. will boast annual capacity of 2.42 million metric tons of ethylene and 1.24 million metric tons of propylene, compared with 3 million metric tons of ethylene and 2.37 million metric tons of propylene of Formosa Plastics Group's petrochemical complex in Mailiao offshore industrial zone, Yunlin County.
The expansion project will take place at the Point Comfort production base in Texas and is expected to be approved by 2012. In addition to ethylene and propylene, it also involves the production of downstream EVA.
The expanded output will be supplied to the need of customers in North America and Latin America. After the completion of the expansion, Formosa Plastics U.S.A. will account for 10% of the revenue and profit of its parent company, Formosa Plastics, up from 7.3% now.
Formosa Plastics U.S.A. has its own shale gas mine, whose output of natural gas is supplied to customers, as well as its naphtha crackers for use as raw material. Thanks to the breakthrough in exploitation technology, cost of the natural gas is quite cheap, reaching only US$3-4 per million BTU (British thermal unit).
(by Philip Liu)