Total advances plan for grassroots steam cracker at US Gulf Coast

Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA Inc. is progressing on its previously announced plan to build a new steam cracker to be tied in with its current refining and petrochemical production operations at the US Gulf Coast (OGJ Online, May 23, 2013).

The project, which will cover the company’s ethylene needs for its US derivatives business, will involve construction of a 1 million-tonne/year ethane steam cracker to be built near the operator’s current production platform in Port Arthur, Tex., Total SA said in a June 4 e-mail to OGJ.

“We intend to launch front-end engineering and design and to select an engineering company [for the project] in the coming months,” a spokesperson for Total’s refining and chemicals division said.

Commissioning of the grassroots steam cracker likely would occur sometime in late 2019, according to the company.

Last year, BASF Total Petrochemicals LCC (BTP), a joint venture of BASF Corp. (60%) and Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA (40%), commissioned a tenth furnace at its existing steam cracker in Port Arthur, which increased ethylene production at the site to more than 1 million tpy (OGJ Online, Mar. 24, 2014).

A final investment decision on the planned Port Arthur cracker, which will be integrated with the 174,000-b/d Port Arthur refinery as well as the BTP plant, is due in 2016, Total said on Mar. 26 in its annual report to investors.

The new cracker project at Port Arthur comes as part of Total’s plan to take advantage of lower-cost feedstock (including ethane, propane, and butane), supplies of which have increased alongside higher production from US shale plays.

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