The 800 million-lb/year expansion, which increases ethylene capacity at Corpus Christi to 2.5 billion lb/year from 1.7 billion lb/year, reached startup on Jan. 19, LyondellBasell said.
Commissioning of the Corpus Christi expansion also concludes a multiyear plan launched in 2012 by LyondellBasell to increase its overall US ethylene production by 2 billion lb/year, which included about $2-billion of investments specific to the US Gulf Coast, the operator said.
Alongside the Corpus Christi project, the program included ethylene expansions at the company’s plants at La Porte, Tex., and Channelview, Tex., as well as earlier capacity increases at its operations in Clinton, Iowa, and Morris, Ill. (OGJ Online, May 2, 2014).
Focused on cost-effective, brownfield projects at its existing plants to capture benefits from increased North American shale gas production, the expansion initiative forms part of the company’s broader strategy to ensure it remains well-positioned for the longer term, according to Bob Patel, LyondellBasell’s chief executive and chairman.
“By expanding [US] ethylene capacity through debottlenecks rather than long and costly greenfield developments, we quickly added substantial capacity for significantly less than the cost of a new plant,” Patel said.
The strategy has enabled LyondellBasell to proceed with another round of growth projects at the US Gulf Coast, on which the company plans an investment of about $3-4 billion over the next 5 years to complete (OGJ Online, Sept. 9, 2016).
To date, new projects include a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plant at the La Porte manufacturing complex, which remains on track to begin construction early this year, LyondellBasell said.
Scheduled for startup in 2019, the proposed 1.1 billion-lb/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 (OGJ Online, July 29, 2016).
Development of a separate project to build the world’s largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant at the Channelview complex also continues to progress, the company said.
Last year, LyondellBasell said, if completed, the PO-TBA plant would produce about 1 billion lb/year of PO and 29,000 b/d of oxyfuels beginning sometime in 2020 (OGJ Online, June 3, 2016).
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