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HUNTSMAN, AUSTRALIAN FIRM PLAN TO BUILD 2 STYRENE PLANTS IN EAST

Huntsman Chemical Corp. and Consolidated Press of Sydney, Australia, will construct two ethylbenzene manufacturing facilities in New Jersey and West Virginia to supply a new styrene monomer plant. Cost of the facilities will be approximately $250 million, officials announced Monday.

The ethylbenzene facilities will be built in Linden, N.J., at Bayway Refining Co. and in Neal, W.V., adjacent to Ashland Petroleum Co.'s Catlettsburg, Ky., refinery.Huntsman Chemical will build the new styrene monomer plant at one of two sites. An announcement is expected in 30 days. The facilities should be built and on line by the first quarter of 1997.

"The technology, engineering and construction services are all in the final phases of negotiation," said Jon M. Huntsman, chairman and chief executive officer of Huntsman Chemical Corp.

Kerry Packer, said to be the richest man in Australia, is chairman of Consolidated Press Holdings. This is the third joint venture between the families. Packer and Huntsman are joint-venture partners in the former Chemplex chemical facility in Australia and in Huntsman Corp., formerly Texaco Chemical Co.

Huntsman said approximately 60 percent of the facilities' new capacity would be consumed internally by Huntsman entities in the United States, Canada and Europe. Styrene monomer is used in the production of plastic products such as appliances, toys, cameras, computers and insulation. It also is used in the manufacture of rubber.

Annually, Huntsman produces 1.25 billion pounds of styrene monomer in Bayport, Texas, and 220 million pounds of styrene monomer in Melbourne, Australia. The new facilities will lift Huntsman's total global output of styrene monomer to about 2.3 billion pounds annually.

Bayway and Ashland officials said the new plants would be a boon to their respective areas.

"We are extremely pleased to be forming this strategic alliance with Huntsman, acknowledged leader in the plastics industry. In particular, the proposed project would facilitate our production of clean fuels gasoline. Additionally, this substantial project should benefit the residents of Linden, Union County and New Jersey," said Dwight Wiggins, president of Bayway Refining Co.

Said Charles Miler, Ashland Petroleum Co. group vice president: "Ashland Petroleum Co. is extremely pleased to announce a partnership with Huntsman Chemical Corp. Huntsman is a respected company and it is a compliment to our region that they have chosen to locate here.

"Their presence will be a great asset to the economic development of our area. This alliance will be beneficial to both Ashland Petroleum Co. and to Huntsman and is the beginning of a long-term relationship."