Shale Daily / NGI All News Access

Shale Gas Prompts Kuraray to Build $10M Plastics Plant in Texas

Japanese chemical manufacturer Kuraray Co. Ltd. announced Tuesday that it plans to take advantage of an abundance of shale gas in the United States and will build a $10.1 million facility in Texas to produce plastic.

Tokyo-based Kuraray said the facility -- which will be built in La Porte, TX, in Harris County -- will create about 210 permanent jobs and provide an initial production capacity of 40,000 tons per year of polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) resin for its subsidiary, Kuraray America Inc.

"The establishment of this new facility is in line with the Kuraray Group's global strategies for its core business of vinyl acetate and PVOH-related products," the company said in a written statement. "Following on business expansion in Japan, Singapore and Europe (Germany), this move will secure a fourth advantageously situated production base for the Group, in this case, in North America where shale gas is easy to procure.

"Based on proprietary Kuraray production techniques, four production bases can sustainably offer high-quality products on a global scale. The new facility will be able to meet demands for markets in North America and burgeoning Central and South America."

Kuraray said the state government provided Texas Enterprise Funds for the project, while the Harris County Commissioners Court granted a tax abatement. The company said the land for the facility has already been purchased and construction should be completed in September 2014.

The sale of PVOH products appears to be a new line of business for Kuraray America Inc., which currently produces and sells ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer (EVOH resin) and thermoplastic elastomers. The Houston-based subsidiary also imports, exports and sells chemical and textile products.

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