Kuraray America Inc. is expanding its Houston presence in more ways the one, says George Avdey, the company's president and CEO. The Houston-based branch of Japanese chemical company Kuraray Co. Ltd. is breaking ground on a greenfield polyvinyl alcohol plant in La Porte, as per Houston Business. However, Avdey also said Kuraray America is expanding its existing ethylene-vinyl acetate plant in Houston. With the expansion, Kurary expects to ramp up ethylene-vinyl acetate production about 30 percent from 36,000 tons to 47,000 tons.
This is the Houston plant’s fourth expansion since it was established in the 1980s. Ethylene-vinyl acetate is used in products such as food packaging and plastic fuel tanks. Like other expanding chemical companies in the area, Kurary plans to take advantage of the low price of natural gas and natural gas liquids from U.S. shale plays. Kuraray uses natural gas to power its plants and natural gas liquids are feedstocks for its chemicals.