Lotte Chemical’s ethylene cracker complex (ECC) in the United States will go into full operation next month. The company is determined to become a global chemical company based on its plant in the United States, which is the largest chemical market in the world.
Lotte Chemical will mark the completion of the ECC factory in Lake Charles, Louisiana with a ceremony in the middle of next month, industry sources said on April 8. Lotte Chemical invested 4 trillion won over five years in establishing the ECC plant, which is a long-cherished project of Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin.
The Lotte Chemical U.S. plant has great significance in that it is a Korea chemical company's first large-scale direct investment project in North America. The plant mainly produces ethylene by decomposing ethane in shale gas. The plant will be as wide as 152 soccer fields combined and has an annual production capacity of one million tons.
When the plant becomes fully operational, Lotte Chemical's annual ethylene production capacity will increase to 4.5 million tons per year. It will account for 2.6 percent of global output, ranking Lotte Chemical first among Korean chemical companies and seventh among chemical companies around the world. Market experts say that the U.S. plant will boost Lotte Chemical’s annual sales and operating profit by one trillion won and 200 billion won, respectively.
Shin has been re-elected as an inside director of Lotte Chemical at a recent general shareholders’ meeting. He announced that the company would invest 20 trillion won in the chemical and construction sector until 2023. "As early as the second half of this year, the U.S. plant’s earnings will be counted in consolidated financial statements," an industry observer said. “It will be a turning point for Lotte Chemical in growing into a leading global petrochemical company.”