PPG to install membrane technology, eliminate use of mercury at Lake Charles, La.
PITTSBURGH, Aug. 4, 2005 – PPG Industries will install membrane cell technology for the manufacture of chlor-alkali products at its chemicals plant in Lake Charles, La., replacing the facility's mercury cells by mid-2007, company officials announced this afternoon.
"Today's announcement represents a significant investment in the sustainability and competitiveness of our largest chemicals plant," said Michael McGarry, vice president, chlor-alkali and derivatives. "Discontinuing the use of mercury at Lake Charles is in line with our company's goal of continually improving our environmental performance. In addition, this project will result in ongoing cost savings for PPG while enabling us to continue providing customers with premium-grade caustic soda."
McGarry said membrane technology uses about 25 percent less electricity than mercury cells. In addition, he said membrane technology reduces maintenance and operating costs.
"Membrane technology will ensure our Lake Charles facility remains a major chlorine producer, maintaining our leadership position in the chlor-alkali industry," said McGarry, who added the project will cost an average of more than $30 million per year for three years.
McGarry said the membrane unit will have essentially the same capacity as the mercury unit, which is approximately 275,000 tons per year. In addition to the mercury cell circuit, PPG operates six diaphragm cell circuits at Lake Charles, with a capacity of about 1.1 million tons per year.
Pittsburgh-based PPG is a world leader in production of chlorine, caustic soda and related chemicals for use in chemical manufacturing, pulp and paper production, water treatment, plastics production and many other products. The company also produces specialty chemicals as well as coatings, glass and fiber glass for global markets. Sales were $9.5 billion in 2004.
Statements in this news release relating to matters that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements reflecting the company's current view with respect to future events and financial performance. These matters involve risks and uncertainties that could affect the company's operations, as discussed in PPG Industries' periodic reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Accordingly, many factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the company's forward-looking statements.
Among these factors are increasing price and product competition by foreign and domestic competitors, fluctuations in cost and availability of raw materials, the ability to maintain favorable supplier relationships and arrangements, economic and political conditions in international markets, the ability to penetrate existing, developing and emerging foreign and domestic markets, which also depends on economic and political conditions, foreign exchange rates and fluctuations in those rates, and the unpredictability of possible future litigation, including litigation that could result if the asbestos settlement discussed in PPG's reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission does not become effective. Further, it is not possible to predict or identify all such factors. Consequently, while the list of factors presented here is considered representative, no such list should be considered to be a complete statement of all potential risks and uncertainties. Unlisted factors may present significant additional obstacles to the realization of forward-looking statements.
Consequences of material differences in results as compared with those anticipated in the forward-looking statements could include, among other things, business disruption, operational problems, financial loss, legal liability to third parties and similar risks, any of which could have a material adverse effect on the company's consolidated financial condition, operations or liquidity.