IHS CERAWeek: Chevron Phillips sees optimism fueled by strong global petrochemicals demand

By Ben DuBose
Digital Editor

HOUSTON -- Operating within the challenge and uncertainty of the current energy environment, Chevron Phillips Chemical’s executive vice president Mark Lashier outlined the company’s growth strategy this week at the IHS CERAWeek conference.

“We have an enthusiastic long-term view for petrochemicals thanks to a one-two combination of strong global demand and competitive feedstocks from the US shale resource boom,” Lashier said in a panel discussion. "By 2030, the global middle class is predicted to grow to nearly 5 billion people from under 2 billion today, according to the United Nations.

“The economic growth that accompanies this rise of the middle class will fuel demand for plastic consumer products, meaning billions of people will have access to better quality-of-life products such as flexible packaging to store and transport food and beverages, enabling modern living,” he added.

To begin accommodating the demand, Chevron Phillips Chemical is focused on the mid-2017 start-up of its $6-billion US Gulf Coast petrochemicals project, which includes a 1.5-MMtpy ethane cracker which will produce ethylene and two world-scale polyethylene units that will each produce 500,000 tpy of resin along the Texas Gulf Coast. 

The new polyethylene (PE) units will allow Chevron Phillips Chemical to become a bigger player in merchandise bags while expanding its capability in flexible packaging and high-performance pressure pipe applications, according to company officials.

In addition to being focused on starting up its new manufacturing assets next year, the company says it is concentrating on industry-wide efforts such as building a solid pipeline of skilled talent to ensure the future success of the industry and urging investment in North American infrastructure to ensure supply chains remain competitive. 

“While we may need to take a deep breath as the global economy settles, we are convinced that we are on the verge of a growth curve,” Lashier said. “Demand for the chemicals and plastics business is strong, compelling us to continue to search the globe for the next major investment."

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