$225 million olefins complex planned at Port Arthur


A joint venture plans to build a $225-million, world-scale, integrated C4 olefins complex at Port Arthur, Tex.

Shell Chemical Co., Houston, will own about 60% of Sabina Petrochemicals LLC, which will operate the venture. BASF Corp., Mount Olive, NJ, will have 24% and ATOFINA Petrochemicals Inc., Houston, (a TotalFinaElf SA subsidiary) will have 16%. The companies said a definitive agreement still is being negotiated.

In connection with the Sabrina project, BASF FINA Petrochemicals Ltd. plans to build a $25 million olefins conversion unit next to its naphtha steam cracker and ATOFINA Petrochemicals Inc.'s 176,000 b/d refinery in Port Arthur, Tex.

Construction of both plants is due to begin in the second quarter and be completed in the first half of 2003. BASF will operate both plants.

Olefins complex
The Sabina plant will be between the ATOFINA refinery and a BASF FINA Petrochemicals naphtha steam cracker currently under construction. The latter is due for completion in the second quarter.

Shell will supply about two-thirds of the feedstock for the Sabina plant and the BASF FINA cracker about a third.

The plant will consist of a 900 million lb/year butadiene extraction unit using BASF technology and a 662 million lb/year indirect alkylation unit using UOP LLC technology.

Butadiene output will be used to make rubber and plastic products at plants in southeast Texas, which is a center of growing US butadiene demand. It will be delivered to customers by pipeline.

The Sabina venture will arrange pipeline transportation between Shell's butadiene feedstock facilities in Deer Park, Tex., and the new plant.

The alkylation unit will produce Sabinate (trademark pending), a high-octane, low-sulfur gasoline blending component.

ABB Lummus Global Inc. and Zachry Construction Corp. will engineer, procure, and build the Sabina plant. Construction will employ a peak of 900 workers and operation 40 full-time workers.

Conversion unit
The BASF FINA Petrochemicals olefins conversion unit will process butylene from the Sabina olefins complex and ethylene from the BASF FINA Petrochemicals cracker into 690 million lb/year of propylene using ABB Lummus Global Inc. technology.

ABB Lummus Global and Zachry will engineer, procure, and construct the facility.

BASF FINA Petrochemicals is owned 60% by BASF and 40% by ATOFINA Petrochemicals.

BASF said the world market for olefins is 17.5 billion lb/year, of which the US market is 5.5 billion. US firms import 20% of their feedstock.

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