Lotte Chemical Corp said on Thursday that it expects that its U.S. ethane cracker will start commercial operations in Louisiana in May.

The U.S. ethane cracker from Lotte Chemical is a joint venture with Axiall Corp, now merged with Westlake Corp. In the plant, Lotte owns 88 percent, while the rest is held by Westlake Corp.

The $ 3.1 billion project built in approximately 250 acres will produce 1 million tonnes of ethylene a year.

The cheaper U.S. shale gas can be an advantage for Lotte as ethane crackers use ethane gas as a feedstock unlike its naphtha crackers in South Korea which use naphtha.

This brings Lotte’s global ethylene output capacity to 4.5 million tonnes, the statement added.

Lotte Chemical Inaugurates Ethane Cracker in US