Chevron Phillips to decommission ethylene cracker, keep another idle

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Dec. 7 -- Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LP will fully decommission the 400 million lb/year ethylene cracker at its Sweeny, Tex., chemical facility, and will continue to idle its 650 million lb/year cracker at Sweeny "for the foreseeable future."

The smaller cracker, called Unit 12, has not operated since December 2000 because of decreases in ethylene and ethylene derivative demand.

"A combination of the difficult market environment and pending capital requirements for environmental upgrades were the primary drivers for this decision," said Bruce Bush, General Manager of CPChem's Olefins and NGL Group.

However, "Unit 22 is a very competitive cracker and we expect it to return to service when the market situation improves," said Bush.

Chevron Phillips Chemical will reassign its employees working at the two units and will decrease contract manpower.

After Unit 12 is decommissioned, Chevron Phillips Chemical will have an ethylene production capacity of 7.6 billion lb/year, with 4.1 billion lbs/year at Sweeny and the remaining 3.5 billion lb/year equally divided between its Cedar Bayou and Port Arthur manufacturing sites.

This Friday announcement follows Chevron Phillips Chemical's plan to postpone the reopening of its Puerto Rican benzene and cyclohexane manufacturing operations indefinitely.

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