Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP dedicated a new state-of-the-art Marlex polyethylene pilot plant at its research and technology facility in Bartlesville on Wednesday.
The pilot plant enables polyethylene research, such as new catalyst and polymer development, to take place on a pilot scale prior to implementation in full-scale operations, including the company’s $6 billion investment along the Texas Gulf Coast expected to start up next year, according to a company press release.
Utilizing Chevron Phillips’ premier MarTECH polyethylene technology, the new unit will support customers from around the world from concept to commercialization, enabling companies the opportunity to go to the marketplace following proven polyethylene research.
Groundbreaking of the new Bartlesville facility began in May 2015. The new facility replaces an aged plant that achieved prominence in the 1950s when two Phillips 66 chemists discovered polyethylene. Construction of the plan was expected to be finalized in 2017. Bartlesville is the only location where Chevron Phillips has made current plans for this type of plant.
“How perfect it is that our new pilot plant is right here in Bartlesville, Oklahoma,” said Peter Cella, Chevron Phillips’ President/CEO. “This is the site were modern plastics got its start; this is the birthplace of modern plastics.”
Chevron Phillips employs more than 200 people at the Bartlesville facility. Cella said the opening of the new pilot plant continues to show the company’s commitment to Bartlesville.
Chevron Phillips officials did not release the cost to build the new pilot plant, only to say the investment was significant.