Shintech, the US subsidiary of $14 billion, Tokyo-based Shin-Etsu Chemical, announced that the company is evaluating four pieces of property, including one in Texas, to build a planned 500,000 tonnes/year ethane cracker. The company said that land that it owned in Plaqemine, La, would be a leading candidate to site the ethylene plant in its pursuit to become a vertically integrated manufacturer of polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
Developing its own ethylene plant would allow the company to produce in-house feedstock for its PVC manufacturing operations. It would also tie the company to the North American shale gas cost advantage by getting the ethane from US fields. So far, Shintech is one of eight companies that have announced plans to build steam crackers in the US by 2017 — a direct result of America’s shale gas production boom.