Two polyethylene (PE) units at Old Ocean east of Houston in Brazoria County have begun production, with each able produce up to 500,000 metric tons/year to service ever-increasing petrochemical demand, Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LLC said Tuesday.

The units, which achieved mechanical completion in June, are a key part of a massive petrochemical expansion underway by the company on the Gulf Coast of Texas.

“In 2011, Chevron Phillips Chemical was the first to announce a leading-edge $6 billion petrochemicals project to take advantage of the newfound shale gas resources in the United States and I am thrilled we are completing the first phase of this project,” said CEO Mark Lashier, president and CEO. This “incredible new asset…will allow us to continue to meet the growing demand of our loyal customer base worldwide.”

The Marlex PE resin produced at Old Ocean is to be delivered to customers in North America and to U.S. transloading facilities for global export.

“Abundant shale gas resources are fueling an economic revival that extends across the nation and supports economic growth around the globe,” Lashier said.

At peak construction, the company’s U.S. Gulf Coast Petrochemicals Project employed 10,000 contractors to build not only the PE units in Old Ocean but a world-scale ethane cracker underway at existing facilities in Baytown.

The ethane cracker and ethylene derivatives facilities initially were announced in late 2011, with the project given a green light in 2013. The Baytown facility, flooded during Hurricane Harvey, now expects to complete ethane cracker construction and begin commissioning by early 2018. Full production is expected during the second quarter.