LyondellBasell Advances $2.4 Bln Gulf Coast Petchem Project


LyondellBasell Industries NV has reached final investment decision on its previously proposed plan to build what it is calling the world’s largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant at the company’s Houston-area complex in Channelview, Tex. (OGJ Online, June 3, 2016).


The $2.4-billion project will involve construction of a PO-TBA plant at Channelview equipped to produce 1 billion lb/year of PO and 2.2 billion lb/year of TBA, the latter of which will move to an ethers unit to be built at the company’s Bayport complex near Pasadena, Tex., for conversion into high-octane gasoline components methyl tertiary butyl ether and ethyl tertiary butyl ether, LyondellBasell said.


LyondellBasell plans to sell PO and derivative products from the new Channelview plant to both domestic and global customers, while MTBE and ETBE oxyfuels from the associated Bayport unit will be primarily sold to buyers in Latin America and Asia.


A portion of TBA production, however, will remain in the US market as high-purity isobutylene for use in tires and lubricants, the company said.


The majority of production from the dual-location project will be exported via the Houston Ship Channel.


While the company has completed front-end engineering design work and secured all required environmental permits for the project, final site selection remains contingent upon approval of certain economic incentives by the state of Texas, the company said.


Pending all necessary final approvals, LyondellBasell said it expects to begin construction during second-half 2018 for a targeted completion by midyear 2021.


Growth strategy

Part of LyondellBasell’s new $5-billion investment program at the US Gulf Coast, the the PO-TBA project follows the company’s previously completed $2-billion plan launched in 2012 to increase overall US ethylene production by 2 billion lb/year, which included ethylene expansions at its La Porte, Tex., Channelview, and Corpus Christi, Tex. sites (OGJ Online, Jan. 19, 2017).

The company also has started construction of a grassroots 1.1 billion-lb/year high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plant at its La Porte complex that, once completed in 2019, will more than double the site’s annual HDPE capacity to 2 billion lb/year (OGJ Online, May 16, 2017).


Projects under the newly launched investment program align with the company’s strategy of maximizing the competitive advantage associated with the close proximity of its USGC operations both to price-advantaged feedstock from increased North American shale production as well as transportation infrastructure needed to ship product to global markets.