LyondellBasell to build the world's largest propylene oxide / tertiary butyl alcohol plant

The plant upon completion will produce an anticipated one billion pounds (470,000 metric tons) of propylene oxide and 2.2 billion pounds (one million metric tons) of tertiary butyl alcohol annually.

The plant upon completion will produce 470,000 metric tons of propylene oxide and one million metric tons of tertiary butyl alcohol annually.
The plant upon completion will produce 470,000 metric tons of propylene oxide and one million metric tons of tertiary butyl alcohol annually.

LyondellBasell announced the final investment decision to build the world's largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant in the Houston area, at its Channelview Complex in Texas, US.

The project is estimated to cost approximately US$2.4 billion, representing the single-largest capital investment in the company's history. At the peak of construction, the project is expected to create up to 2,500 jobs and approximately 160 permanent positions when operational.

The plant upon completion will produce an anticipated one billion pounds (470,000 metric tons) of propylene oxide and 2.2 billion pounds (one million metric tons) of tertiary butyl alcohol annually.

"This world-scale project is a key part of our organic growth strategy, which is designed to meet rising global demand for both urethanes and cleaner-burning oxyfuels, while creating real, long-term value for our shareholders," said Bob Patel, CEO, LyondellBasell.

"Our investment in this plant combines the best of both worlds: our leading PO / TBA process technology with proximity to low-cost feedstocks, which gives LyondellBasell a competitive advantage in the global marketplace for these products," added Patel.

"We are pleased that LyondellBasell continues to view the Houston area as important to their global operations, creating jobs and opportunities for Houstonians," said Bob Harvey, president and CEO, Greater Houston Partnership.

"This new project further advances Houston's position as a global hub of petrochemical manufacturing, leveraging Houston's strategic access to the Americas and top markets around the world," added Harvey.

PO is used in the manufacture of bedding, furniture, carpeting, coatings, building materials and adhesives, while TBA will be converted to two ether-based oxyfuels, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE). Both MTBE and ETBE are high-octane gasoline components that help gasoline burn cleaner and reduce emissions from automobiles.

LyondellBasell plans to sell the PO and derivative products to both domestic and global customers, while the oxyfuels will be primarily sold into Latin America and Asia. A portion of TBA will remain in the domestic market in the form of high purity isobutylene, which is used in tires and lubricants.

The majority of the products will be exported via the Houston Ship Channel.

The PO / TBA project will have a split facility design to optimise product balances and realise synergies between LyondellBasell sites. The associated ethers unit, which will convert TBA to oxyfuels, is proposed for the company's Bayport Complex near Pasadena, Texas.

The company has completed front-end engineering design work and received the required environmental permits. Site preparation is underway and construction is expected to begin during the second half of 2018.

It is anticipated that the project will be completed by the middle of 2021. Final site selection is contingent upon final approval of certain economic incentives by the state of Texas.

The PO / TBA project is part of LyondellBasell's US$5 billion organic growth programme taking place on the US Gulf Coast. LyondellBasell recently completed ethylene expansion projects at the company's La Porte, Channelview and Corpus Christi sites in Texas, finalising a multi-year plan to increase annual ethylene capacity in the US by two billion pounds (900,000 metric tons).

Additionally, LyondellBasell began construction of a world-scale polyethylene (PE) plant at its La Porte Complex, which utilises the company's proprietary Hyperzone PE technology and will more than double that site's PE capacity to two billion pounds (900,000 metric tons) per year upon completion in 2019.

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