Shell updates Geismar AO expansion project

Shell Chemical LP remains on schedule with construction of its $717-million project to increase alpha olefins (AO) production at its Geismar, La., chemical manufacturing plant, which post-expansion, will become the largest AO production site in the world (OGJ Online, Nov. 30, 2015).

The 425,000-tonne/year AO unit, which will join three existing units at the site, will begin commercial production by yearend 2018, said Graham van’t Hoff, executive vice-president of Royal Dutch Shell PLC's global chemical business.

With the project currently taking delivery of more than 600 large pieces of equipment, Shell recently completed side-by-side placement of two large ramps, each able to sustain a 250-tonne capacity, to load and unload heavy equipment, the company said.

Previously completed works include placement of large process equipment—including reactors, columns, vessels, and preassembled modules that will form the core of the new AO unit—as well as construction of a cooling tower and two new storage areas for rail and high-purity butene.

Separately, the company said it also has reached final investment decision on a project to expand mid-cut and light-cut alcohol capacity at Geismar to meet growing demand for surfactant and plasticizer alcohols, which is scheduled to begin commercial production of incremental alcohols concurrently with the new AO unit.

Shell plans to supply the Geismar expansion with ethylene feedstock from its nearby Norco, La., and Deer Park, Tex., manufacturing sites, which following startup of the new AO unit, will bring total AO production at Geismar to more than 1.3 million tpy (OGJ Online, Feb. 16, 2016).

Contact Robert Brelsford at

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