MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell's sprawling chemical plant in Channelview may get even bigger, said Houstonchronicle.
The international chemical giant, operated out of Houston, said Wednesday it is evaluating an expansion to potentially boost the Channelview plant's ethylene capacity by 550 million pounds per year. Preliminary engineering work has begun to determine the feasibility of the project. If LyondellBasell decides to proceed, the expansion could be finished by 2017.
Among the largest petrochemical plants along the Gulf Coast, the Channelview facility covers 3,900 acres and employs 2,000 people. The north side of the complex makes feedstocks such as ethylene, propylene and benzene for operations at the south plant, which makes propylene oxide, styrene monomer and other chemical building blocks for the manufacturing of clothing, bedding, packaging and automotive parts.
The proposed expansion project would be the latest investment for the company, which has announced a series of expansions and construction projects in recent years. The U.S. shale boom touched off a petrochemical resurgence along the Gulf Coast, thanks to vast supplies of natural gas, which have created cheap and abundant fuel and feedstock for chemical plants. Nearly 200 projects worth USD124 billion have been announced in the past four years.
At Channelview, Lyondell has work underway to install two large cracking furnaces slated to boost production by 250 million pounds per year. Construction is set to finish early next year. The company recently completed a project in La Porte to add 800 million pounds of ethylene capacity and the same amount of capacity is being added to its Corpus Christi plant, with work slated to be done in late 2015.
The capacity boost provided by those projects is equal to building a new stand-alone cracking unit, the company said. Combined, these expansions will boost LyondellBasell's ethylene capacity to1.85 billion pounds per year. Adding to the Channelview plant could raise that number up to 2.4 billion pounds per year.
As per MRC, LyondellBasell, the world's largest polyolefins producer, has shut its Equistar Chemicals polypropylene (PP) plant in Lake Charles, Louisiana, following a lightning strike. The lightning strike occurred July 13.
Equistar Chemicals, LP, headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a joint venture between Lyondell Chemical Company and Millennium Chemicals Inc. and combines their olefins, polymers and oxygenated chemicals businesses. Equistar is one of the world's largest producers of ethylene, propylene and polyethylene and a leading producer of ethylene oxide, ethylene glycol, polypropylene, specialty polymers, wire and cable resins, and polyolefin powders. Equistar was formed in December 1997 and has 17 manufacturing sites located primarily along the U.S. Gulf Coast and in the Midwest.