Badlands plans first US Gulf Coast merchant AO plant

Badlands NGLs LLC, Denver, has let a contract to S&B Engineers & Constructors Ltd., Houston, to build the first merchant alpha olefins (AO) plant at the US Gulf Coast for on-purpose manufacturing of polyethylene co-monomers 1-butene and 1-hexane.

S&B will provide engineering, procurement, and construction services for the grassroots project, including schedule and cost guarantees, Badlands said.

Configured with production capacities of 93,000 tonnes/year for 1-butene and 141,000 tpy for 1-hexene, the AO plant is scheduled for startup during second-half 2018, Badlands said.

A value of the EPC contract was not disclosed.

Alongside the announcement, Badlands also confirmed that it has signed a 15-year agreement with an unidentified petrochemical and polymers marketer for 100% offtake of the proposed AO plant’s output.

Badlands currently is considering two alternative US Gulf Coast sites for the project, both of which offer close proximity to water transportation routes to enable shipments to US and international customers alike.

The company said it expects to make a final site selection for the AO plant in the next few weeks.

In contrast to the oligomerization process typically used to manufacture polyethylene co-monomer AOs that manufactures a range of up to 14 different products in set ratios—including 1-hexene and 1-butene—the proposed AO plant will use proprietary ethylene metathesis technology processes to produce on-purpose 1-butene and 1-hexene to meet market demand without extraneous output of nonpolyethylene co-monomer AO products, Badlands said.

Already licensed by Badlands from an unidentified provider, the proprietary processing technology will yield 1-butene and 1-hexene products via ethylene dimerization and trimerization, respectively.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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