LyondellBasell approves HDPE plant at US Gulf Coast

LyondellBasell has reached final investment decision to build a grassroots high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plant at the US Gulf Coast.

Scheduled for startup in 2019, the proposed 1.1 billion-lb/year (500,000-tonne/year) HDPE plant will be the first ever to use LyondellBasell’s proprietary Hyperzone PE technology, a cascade-gas phase process based on the company’s existing Multizone circulating-reactor technology, the operator said.

Despite its US Gulf Coast location, the plant will be equipped to produce a range of high-performance, multimodal HDPE products for export to markets across the globe, the company said.

While LyondellBasell disclosed no further details regarding the precise location or cost of the project, the company told investors in June that, alongside its planned investment of $1.9 billion in 2016 on a maintenance and growth program designed to further increase reliability, efficiency, and production at existing manufacturing sites, it also was evaluating a total investment of about $3-4 billion over the next 5 years on other growth projects (OGJ Online, June 3, 2016).

Announcement of this latest HDPE project follows a series of completed and ongoing projects LyondellBasell has undertaken as part of its long-term strategy to take advantage of increased North American shale gas production (OGJ Online, July 1, 2013).

Alongside completing ethylene expansions of  800 million lb/year at its LaPorte, Tex., plant (OGJ Online, July 28, 2014) and 250 million-lb/year at the Channelview, Tex., plant in 2014 and 2015, respectively, the company currently is wrapping up an 800 million-lb/year expansion at its production complex in Corpus Christi, Tex. (OGJ Online, May 2, 2014).

The Corpus Christi ethylene plant expansion is due to be completed by the end of this year’s third quarter, said Bob Patel, LyondellBasell’s chief executive officer.

The company also is moving forward with plans to build the world’s largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol plant at its Channelview complex, which when completed in 2020, will be equipped to produce about 1 billion lb/year of PO and 29,000 b/d of oxyfuels.

Contract Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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