HOUSTON, April 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Westlake Chemical Corporation (NYSE: WLK) ("Westlake") and The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago ("Trinidad and Tobago") announced today that the parties have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Westlake to develop an ethane- based ethylene, polyethylene and other derivatives project in that country. The project evaluation will be undertaken in conjunction with The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago, Ltd. (NGC), and the National Energy Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago, Ltd. (NEC). Trinidad and Tobago has expressed an interest in becoming a minority equity partner in the project.
As currently envisioned, the project would use 37,500 barrels per day of ethane to produce 570,000 tonnes per year of ethylene, which would in turn be used to produce polyethylene and other derivative products. The project could be expanded in the future as more ethane becomes available. The capital cost is initially estimated to be approximately US$1.5 billion. The size, scope, and cost of the project are subject to further definition as the parties undertake a detailed feasibility study pursuant to the MOU. It is expected that the project would be financed through a project financing arrangement. The preliminary project schedule shows that construction would start in late 2007 and that the project would start operations in late 2010.
"Westlake is pleased to announce the signing of this important MOU and views this as an opportunity to utilize our strong background in ethylene, polyethylene and other derivative products and to work with the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in furtherance of the strategic development of their globally competitive petrochemical industry. This project, with its advantaged location and feedstock, will serve the growing markets in the Americas," stated Albert Chao, President and CEO of Westlake Chemical Corporation.
"This project is an important step in our continued efforts to diversify the energy sector and to create spin-off industries thereby promoting more linkages between the non-oil and petroleum sectors of our economy. Further, this project once on stream, would help to ensure the optimal utilization of our hydrocarbon resources by diversifying the sources of national income while creating development opportunities for the welfare and prosperity of the nation .... This investment therefore has significant opportunities for job- creation, wealth generation, and new skills development for the people of Trinidad and Tobago," said Dr. Lenny Saith, Minister of Energy and Energy Industries.
The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago, Ltd (NGC) is a Trinidad and Tobago company charged with supplying natural gas and ethane to plants in Trinidad in support of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago's policies and programs to develop downstream energy sector projects.
National Energy Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago, Ltd. (NEC) is a Trinidad and Tobago company that will assist project companies in acquiring
facilities, equipment, materials and logistics required in the ordinary course of constructing and operating developed projects.
Westlake Chemical Corporation (WLK) is a manufacturer and supplier of petrochemicals, polymers and fabricated products with headquarters in Houston, Texas. The company's range of products includes: ethylene, polyethylene, styrene, propylene, caustic, VCM, PVC and PVC pipe, windows and fence. For more information, visit the company's Web site at http://www.westlakechemical.com .
The statements in this release relating to the proposed petrochemical and polymers project, as well as any other matters that are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially, based on factors including, but not limited to, changes in the world economy and the results of negotiations of contracts needed to implement the proposed project. For more detailed information about factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, please refer to Westlake's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2005, which was filed in February 2006.
SOURCE: Westlake Chemical Corporation CONTACT: David R. Hansen, Media Relations or Steven Bender, Investor Relations both of Westlake Chemical Corporation, +1-713-960-9111 Web site: http://www.westlakechemical.com