Westlake Chemical lets EP contract for ethylene plant expansion

Westlake Chemical Corp., Houston, has let a contract to Technip for work related to the expansion of ethylene capacity at its Sulphur, La., plant near Lake Charles.

Technip will provide detailed engineering and procurement services to expand the recovery section of Westlake’s Petro 1 (P1) ethylene plant at the Sulphur complex, Technip said.

Technip’s operating center in Houston will execute the project with support from the company’s office in Mumbai, India, the service provider said.

This latest contract follows a series of feasibility studies executed by Technip to help Westlake evaluate expansion options and development of the process design package and front-end engineering design for the project, said Stan Knez, Technip’s senior vice-president of process technology.

A value of the contract was not disclosed.

Last month, Westlake Chemical released details on the Lake Charles ethylene capacity expansion plan, at which time it said the expansion, as well as other capital improvements to be included in the project, would require an investment of about $330 million (OGJ Online, Oct. 23, 2014).

The expansion, which is scheduled to be completed late next year or early in 2016, will increase the plant’s ethane-based ethylene capacity by about 250 million lb/year, Westlake Chemical said.

The company previously completed an expansion of the Petro 2 (P2) ethylene unit at its Lake Charles complex during first-quarter 2013 (OGJ Online, Sept. 25, 2012).

Westlake Chemical initially announced plans to expand P1 and P2 in April 2011 as part of its strategy to capitalize on low-cost ethane and other light NGLs becoming available as a result of North America’s increased shale gas production.

P1 currently has an ethylene production capacity of 567,000 lb/day, while P2 has a capacity of 630,000 lb/day (OGJ, July 7, 2014, p. 90).

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