Study sees Geismar plant’s expansion

Deck

Lion Copolymer Geismar LLC has completed a detailed engineering study of an expansion that would add 66,000 to 88,000 tons of annual production capacity to the manufacturing line for ethylene propylene diene monomer.

EPDM is used in automotive, industrial and consumer hoses, weather seals, molded goods and wire and cable insulation, among other things.

The Geismar campus has four EPDM polymerization units. The new line would increase production capacity to more than 220,000 tons per year. The company said the new line will use Lion Copolymer’s existing infrastructure.

Lion Copolymer has expanded its EPDM capacity by close to 39,000 tons per year since acquiring the 400-acre site from Chemtura in 2007.

The company said it also is exploring options to strengthen its position in key raw materials, including co-investing in new ethane cracker capacities.

Lion Copolymer President Jesse Zeringue said the raw material cost advantages on the Gulf Coast and the performance of the company’s Royalene EPDM brand are the key drivers in the decision to review expansion options.

The company announced April 24 that it had completed the sale of its styrene butadiene rubber and nitrile-butadiene rubber business to East West Copolymer LLC.

That move will allow Lion to focus its efforts on expanding the EPDM business and to explore new strategic opportunities, Zeringue said.

East West has been operating the Baton Rouge plant since February under a temporary agreement. Lion shut down the 143,000-ton plant in December, citing economic conditions.