Ground has been broken for a $3 billion chemical manufacturing project in Lake Charles, LA.

LACC LLC, a joint venture of Lotte Chemical and Axiall Corp., will build a $1.9 billion ethane cracker complex near Axiall’s existing manufacturing plants in Calcasieu Parish. Using a portion of ethylene produced by that plant, Lotte Chemical will produce monoethylene glycol at a $1.1 billion plant constructed beside the ethane cracker. A final investment decision on the project was made late last year (see Daily GPI, Dec. 18, 2015).

Both plants are expected to begin operating in 2019. Axiall will use its portion of the ethylene output to make vinyl chloride monomer, a precursor to plastics, and other products, such as caustic soda, chlorine and ethylene dichloride. Lotte Chemical will make monoethylene glycol (MEG), which is an important ingredient in the making of paper, textile fibers, latex paints, asphalt, resins, antifreeze, coolants and adhesives. It is expected to be the largest MEG plant in the U.S.

Lotte will be the sole owner of the MEG plant, with construction on that site and the ethane cracker under way now. Upon completion of the MEG plant, Lotte plans to produce 700,000 tons per year of that product, chiefly for export to customers abroad. The ethane cracker is designed for an annual capacity of 1 million tons to be shared equally by the two companies.

“The southwest region of Louisiana is a global industry leader, from the production of refined fuels and chemicals to liquefied natural gas, cryogenic insulation, paper products and agricultural goods,” said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. “Axiall and its predecessor, PPG, have operated one of the largest economic driver industrial sites in Louisiana for many decades.”

CB&I will execute the main steam cracker contract, using its proprietary technology, following completion of front-end engineering and design, and other early-stage engineering works. LACC will engage a number of other firms to execute ancillary offsite facilities developments and tie-ins to existing infrastructure.

The state-of-the-art steam cracking facility will be built adjacent to Axiall’s largest chlor-alkali chemical facility to take advantage of Axiall’s existing infrastructure, access to competitive feedstock resources, and ethylene distribution infrastructure.