Polyolefins manufacturer Braskem announced Monday that its polypropylene (PP) production plant in Kenova, WV is celebrating 60 years in operation. Opened in 1961, the facility currently produces 70 grades of PP for use in a range of industries, including food packaging, healthcare, and automotive.
“This is a significant milestone, and it wouldn’t be possible without the commitment and resilience of our entire Neal team. This extraordinary team has always put safety first while ensuring we can continue to supply our clients even in the most challenging times,” Mark Nikolich, chief executive officer of Braskem Americas, said in a company release. “During the intial days of COVID-19 and in the height of the pandemic’s uncertainty, the Neal production team lived at the production site for 28 days during March and April 2020 to ensure we could continue to supply the raw material needed to make critical personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep people safe during COVID.”
Sunoco Chemical sold the plant to Braskem in 2010. It is the first polymer plant in the US to utilize Spheripol production technology. In 2020, Braskem injected over $40 million in the facility to add new electrical infrastructure and make other improvements.
“I am humbled to be part of such a great team here at Neal. Successfully reaching 60 years of production is no small feat, and I am truly proud to lead this team into the future,” said Laurence Kerrigan, manager of the Neal plant, in a statement.
106 people are currently employed at the plant.
A new line capable of producing over 1 billion lb/yr of polypropylene products started operations at Braskem’s La Porte, TX complex in September 2020, Powder & Bulk Solids reported. That project created 50 new jobs.