LyondellBasell has received a key permit required in the company's multi-plant ethylene expansion program which, when fully operational, is expected to increase annual ethylene capacity by an estimated 1.85B pounds per day, for a total estimated capacity of 11.8B pounds in North America. The ethylene expansion program began in 2013 and represents a total investment of approximately $1.3B in the company's Channelview, La Porte and Corpus Christi, Texas plants which benefit from shale gas production. On April 16, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a final greenhouse gas permit for the Corpus Christi project. The permit is the first to be drafted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and issued by EPA under a new program designed to help improve permitting efficiency and productivity for applicants in the State of Texas. Start-up at the Channelview plant is planned for early 2015. Construction at Corpus Christi is expected to begin during the second half of this year with start-up scheduled for late 2015.