Leading from the Start - Polyethylene Licensing

In 1951, Phillips Petroleum research chemists Paul Hogan and Robert Banks were working to improve yields of high-octane gasoline when they serendipitously invented two of the world’s most essential plastics - polypropylene and high-density polyethylene. From that initial discovery, Phillips Petroleum engineers and chemists developed the first commercially feasible polymerization process in the mid-1950’s. Today, Chevron Phillips Chemical’s plastics have become a staple of modern life.

Using Phillips Petroleum’s pioneering technology, Chevron Phillips Chemical research and development teams have continued to develop more cost-effective ways to manufacture polyethylene. As a result, Chevron Phillips Chemical’s proprietary technology is licensed in 18 countries, with over 85 commercial reactors in operation, making Chevron Phillips Chemical’s loop slurry technology the premier choice around the globe for polyethylene polymerization.  “Together, Chevron Phillips Chemical and its licensees produce over eight million metric tons of polyethylene per year,” explained Mitch Eichelberger, Global Director of Licensing for Chevron Phillips Chemical. 

“Chevron Phillips Chemical technologies yield high-quality resins that secure exceptional margins, provide low operating costs, and are backed by a multi-million dollar research and development program. Clearly, it makes good business sense to license from Chevron Phillips Chemical,” Eichelberger believes.

Loop Slurry Process

When Chevron Phillips Chemical’s breakthrough loop slurry process was formally introduced in 1960, it revolutionized the production of high-density polyethylene. 

“Chevron Phillips Chemical loop slurry plants are remarkably efficient,” explained Eichelberger. In the past ten years, the Company’s scientists and engineers have implemented more than 100 separate improvements which have led to increased space-time yield, improved economy-of-scale due to major increases in the maximum reactor size, and significant decreases in the amount of energy and utilities consumed per pound of polymer produced.  As a result, the cost of constructing a Chevron Phillips Chemical loop slurry polyethylene plant has decreased by up to 60 percent on an annual pound of production basis since 1990.  “And, with low emissions, a Chevron Phillips Chemical PE plant has low impact on the environment,” said Eichelberger.  

Backed by Industry Leading R&D

By licensing Chevron Phillips Chemical technology, licensees have access to Chevron Phillips Chemical’s technical centers around the globe. These cutting-edge facilities offer consultation with top researchers and engineers to assist in the formulation of developmental resins, optimizing polymerization conditions, and solving complex fabrication issues. 

Chevron Phillips Chemical has two U.S. based research centers - one in Texas and one in Oklahoma.  These facilities include bench scale reactors, pilot plants, loop reactors, extrusion pilot plants, commercial-size fabrication equipment and state-of-the-art evaluation laboratories.  Additionally, there are polymer technical development and support centers in Brussels and Singapore. “For polymer producers, there are no better resources available for solving technical problems,” said Eichelberger.

Also, licensees can participate in Chevron Phillips Chemical’s Information Exchange program, which offers access to the company’s latest commercial developments.  “Participants learn how to produce improved resins with better physical properties, achieve better processing, and realize better margins,” Eichelberger explained.

The Chevron Phillips Chemical Information Exchange program can also include private consultation with company experts as needed. These experts can conduct on-site assessments to assess operational efficiency bottlenecks and are available to work with local management to update plants with new process or operational improvements. 

Profitability and Performance

Polyethylene resins made with Chevron Phillips Chemical’s technology are market leaders.  “For the past few years, industry experts have consistently shown that Chevron Phillips Chemical’s proprietary resins and process have yielded higher margins than competitive technologies,” said Eichelberger.

Worldwide market share for resins produced with Chevron Phillips Chemical technology is approximately one-third of the global high-density polyethylene capacity and more than one-half of the capacity in the U.S. market. Manufacturers utilize this technology in approximately 60 percent of the U.S. household/industrial chemical blow molding market, 85 percent of the U.S. liquid-food blow molding market, 80 percent of the polyethylene pipe market in the U.S., and one-half of all sales of geomembrane polyethylene resin in North America.

Companies wishing to expand their polyethylene capabilities can inquire about licensing Chevron Phillips Chemical’s technology by contacting Mitch Eichelberger at 281.359.0250.