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Braskem begins production at new polypropylene production line in Texas

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Braskem has announced the successful launch of commercial production at its newest, world-class polypropylene production line located in La Porte, Texas, US.

Braskem's new line has a production capacity of over 450 kilotons (kt) or 1 billion pounds per year and has the capability to produce the entire polypropylene portfolio including a broad range of products including homopolymer, impact copolymer and random copolymers. Construction began in October 2017 with the final phase of mechanical construction completed in June 2020. The launch of commercial production follows the successful completion of the commissioning process as well as the achievement of Braskem's high product quality assurance protocols.

Mark Nikolich, Braskem America CEO, stated: "The launch of commercial production at our new world class polypropylene production line in La Porte clearly affirms Braskem's position as the North American polypropylene market leader. Our investment of US$750 million in the largest polypropylene production line in the Americas, and the first new polypropylene plant in North America since 2008, reflects our enduring commitment to meeting the needs of our clients today and for the long-term. With the upcoming launch of our new Global Export Hub in Charleston, South Carolina, we'll significantly increase our ability to serve clients throughout North America, South America, Europe, and Asia with our newly expanded US production capability. I would also like to personally thank the entire Braskem team, as well as our design and construction partners, on delivering this milestone project amid a challenging COVID-19 environment. Our team member safety is always our top priority and their exceptional performance throughout the project is a true testament to their commitment to professional excellence."

The construction of the facility has positively affected the economy in the Texas Gulf Coast region, which employed approximately 1300 development and construction workers. An additional 50 Braskem permanent full-time jobs were created to support long-term commercial production. The plant design was developed directly in-line with Braskem's commitment to sustainability and attention to eco-indicators such as emissions, water and energy efficiency, as well as recycling and waste reduction.

"The startup of our new production line comes at a time when the North American polypropylene industry needs it most. The market has adapted to the COVID pandemic and demand in North America has recovered to pre-COVID levels. This demand, coupled with recent operating challenges in the industry, has created a situation where clients in North America need our support. We are excited to bring the new production capability to clients not only in North America, but also to international clients," commented Alexandre Elias, Vice President, Polypropylene North America.

In June 2020 Braskem America announced the development of its new Global Export Hub Facility in Charleston, South Carolina, to better serve clients internationally from the US market. The new Global Export Hub facility will provide packaging, warehousing and export shipping services to support Braskem's US polypropylene production facilities. With the design and development phase well underway, the new Global Export Hub is expected to be completed by 3Q20 and will have a capacity to support export shipments of up to 450 million pounds (204 Kilotons) of polypropylene and specialty polymers annually to Braskem customers worldwide. The Port of Charleston features daily express intermodal and merchandise rail services and more than 20 ocean carriers delivering export cargo between Charleston and more than 150 nations around the world.

To support the sustainable use of polypropylene through the development of, and investment in, the Circular Economy, Braskem America recently became a founding member and funding partner of the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition, with a primary focus on increasing US polypropylene recovery and reuse.

The Polypropylene Recycling Coalition, an initiative with The Recycling Partnership, is a collaboration to improve the U.S. polypropylene recycling infrastructure with a focus on increasing curbside recycling access for polypropylene to ensure this critical packaging material is widely recovered and reused in end-markets including food and beverage packaging, consumer products and automotive parts. The coalition makes funding grants available to support community curbside recycling programs to local governments, solid waste authorities, and federally recognised tribes.

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