Odessa, United States of America


Huntsman Corporation, announced in 1998 the commissioning and start-up of the company's new linear low density polyethylene production facility at its Odessa, Texas site. The plant produces octene linear low density polyethylene, butene linear low density polyethylene and high density polyethylene. To do this, Huntsman use DSM process technology. Huntsman Corporation is a privately held American chemical company. Its operating companies manufacture basic products for the chemical, plastics, detergent, personal care, textile, automotive, rubber and packaging industries.

ODESSA POLYETHYLENE PLANT CHARACTERISTICS

The 220 million pound per year plant produces Octene-based copolymer polyethylene, using the advanced DSM compact solution process. Though primarily a linear low density facility, the plant is capable of manufacturing a wide range of products, from ultra low to high density polyethylene. The new facility complements Huntsman's 450 million pounds of high-pressure low-density polyethylene production.

The high-pressure low-density facility produces this wide range of products on multiple tubular and autoclave reactors. Its high pressure low density polyethylene (HPLDPE) is made with Huntsman's proprietary process that allows for quick transitions and makes consistent products while meeting specific customer requirements including industry leading low gel materials. Its products range covers fractional melt flow homopolymer, extrusion coating grades, EVA copolymers, and low gel film grades.

ODESSA POLYPROPYLENE PLANT PRODUCTION

Using Huntsman's proprietary liquid pool process, this facility produces product with a good balance of properties from impact copolymers to speciality grades. Products made from this facility are some of the purest polypropylene available and are used in demanding medical and electrical applications throughout the world. The REXell linear low density polyethylene plant uses the DSM compact process for its production activities.

DSM MANUFACTURING PROCESS

Huntsman chose the DSM manufacturing process primarily because of superior product performance, the ease of transition between products, and because it receives consistently high marks from customers throughout Europe where it is widely used. Huntsman is the only polyethylene producer in the Americas to use this technology.

End use markets for the new products include food and non-food flexible packaging; medical packaging, tubing and fitments; caps, closures and rigid containers where low taste and odour thresholds are important; infant diapers and adult personal care products; lamination films; and high strength shipping sacks.

POLYETHYLENE PRODUCTION

Polyethylene is a versatile thermoplastic resin available in a wide range of melt indices, densities and additive formulations. Huntsman produces traditional low density polyethylene (LDPE), linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), high density polyethylene (HDPE) and ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymers (EVA) in multiple plants and technologies.

Huntsman's newest polymer family, REXell LLDPE, builds upon the polyolefins product offering. The product toughness, wide range of flexibility, stress crack resistance, and high tensile strength are unique to these solution octane copolymer linear polyethylenes.

Grades of polyethylene and EVA are available to meet the needs of various fabrication processes such as blown and cast film, blow moulding, injection moulding, extrusion coating, and laminating. The ease of processing and high purity makes polyethylene an extremely attractive material capable of competing quite favourably in a number of demanding applications.

ODESSA SITE ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY

An independent environmental audit of the Huntsman Polymers Corporation Odessa, Texas manufacturing site shows that Huntsman is operating the facility in a manner that is protective of the public and the environment.

Huntsman contracted with the internationally recognised environmental consulting firm URS Corporation to perform the audit, in large part to answer critics who continued to find fault with the manner in which Huntsman was operating the site. Huntsman charged URS to determine whether the company was, in fact, managing and operating the site in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. According to URS the complex was environmentally well managed and maintained, and in substantial compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations.

MARKET RATIONALE FOR THE ODESSA PLANT

The company considers this facility as the jewel in the crown of the Huntsman performance polymers business. It allows the company to offer its customers new, high performance products for the most demanding applications where strength, quality, consistency and high performance are critical. The decision to expand has been taken after careful analysis of the polyethylene international market.

Low density polyethylene (LDPE) is the largest single segment of the world-wide plastics market. Demand for this popular material continues to grow (3% per year in the Asia Pacific region) because of its proven success in applications such as film for high-clarity and food packaging, shrink wrap, bags and agricultural uses; lids and containers; and adhesives. A modern, efficient facility was considered necessary to guarantee increase in revenue.