Forecast more >
Light rain we had overnight and this morning has moved well east along weak cold front. A few breaks in the clouds tonight and Monday will allow temps to warm on Monday afternoon with winds becoming southeast again. Upper Low over Mexico will bring our next chance of rain Monday night into Tuesday morning. ...
Huntsman Corporation creates new jobs in Port Neches
PORT NECHES - by Lauren Huet
The chemical industry is growing along the Gulf Coast, and one chemical plant in Port Neches is creating hundreds of jobs.
The Huntsman Corporation broke ground today on its new, 150 million dollar, ethylene oxide unit at the company's Port Neches plant.
"The vast majority of that [money] will stay here," said Huntsman Corporation CEO Peter Huntsman," in addition to that 150 million dollars for this project, Huntsman has a payroll here in the area of just under 100 million dollars. So, that 100 million dollars that we spend, that stays in the tri-county area."
The company will create 325 local contractor jobs during the construction phase.
Huntsman says this project is a long-term commitment between the Huntsman Corporation and Southeast Texas.
"I think that more than anything else, this really preserves this site," said Huntsman. "It tells you that this site is going to be around for another 15 or 20 years, and this also provides us with the raw material base to be able to expand the site further in the years to come."
When the new unit is complete, Huntsman's Port Neches plant will be the largest single site producer of ethylene oxide in North America. Ethylene Oxide is a key raw material in a variety of products.
"Ethylene oxide goes into a myriad of things," said the Director of Manufacturing at Huntsman's Port Neches facility, Dan Kemp. "Everything from the soap you put on--you wash with everyday, to shampoo, to additives in gasoline, to plastics, to any kind of means that go into things-- like the hardening agent in the paint on your car... [Ethylene Oxide] is the building block for thousands of different molecules."
Chemical plants like this one are popping up on the Gulf Coast because of cheap, accessible natural gas.
"In the last decade, 5 to 10 billion dollars of projects were shut down in the 1990s going to 2000," said Huntsman. "In the last 5 years, over 50 billion dollars of new chemical expansion projects have been announced in North America, many of them are going to end up in Texas."
"I think the new phenomena with cheaper natural gas has now stimulated this resurgence, this Renaissance that we're seeing of chemical investment in the Gulf Coast," said Stewart Monteith, the president of Huntsman's Performance Products Division. "Which is just going to continue to be able to enable the chemical industry here in the United States to grow in a much more global way."
"I think for the entire industry, if you look at our natural gas costs in Texas, it is the equivalent to about 18 to 20 dollars a barrel in crude oil prices. Now, if I were to look at Europe right now, their gas is costing the equivalency of about 60 to 70 dollars a barrel. And if I look at gas prices in China, where we have a lot of competition, it's between 100 to 110 dollars a barrel. So we have an advantage here," said Huntsman.