LyondellBasell ethylene expansion projects advance

LyondellBasell has secured a key permit required to proceed with its $1.3 billion ethylene expansion program at its plants in Channelview, La Porte, and Corpus Christi, Tex., all of which are benefitting from rising North American shale gas production (OGJ Online, July 1, 2013).

On Apr. 16, the US Environmental Protection Agency issued a final greenhouse gas permit for the company’s proposed project to expand its Corpus Christi, Tex., cracker by about 363,000 tonnes/year (tpy), LyondellBasell said in a May 2 release.

The permit is the first to be drafted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and issued by EPA under a new program designed to help improve permitting efficiency and productivity for applicants in the state of Texas, the company added.

LyondellBasell said it expects construction at the Corpus Christi plant to begin during second-half 2014, with start-up planned for late 2015.

LyondellBasell also said required plant modifications are under way at its La Porte plant and are scheduled to be completed this summer, while start-up at the Channelview plant is planned for early 2015.

When fully operational, LyondellBasell expects the multiplant expansion project to increase North American ethylene capacity by an estimated 1.85 billion lb/year for a total estimated capacity of 11.8 billion lb/year.

“Successfully securing our permit in Corpus Christi means our multiplant ethylene expansion program is on target to be fully operational by the end of 2015,” said Jim Gallogly, chief executive officer of LyondellBasell.

“Rather than build a new plant from the ground up, which can take 5 years or more, our approach is to expand our existing facilities and seize the feedstock advantage more swiftly and cost-effectively,” Gallogly added.

During the 2013 launch of the expansion projects, the company confirmed the La Porte expansion will add about 363,000 tpy of ethylene capacity at the plant, while the Channelview project will expand that site’s capacity by 113,000 tpy (OGJ Online, July 1, 2013).

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