Next Wave Energy to build ethylene-to-alkylate facility near Houston Ship Channel

Nov. 21, 2019

Next Wave Energy Partners LP made a positive final investment decision (FID) to construct a new alkylate production facility, known as Project Traveler, to be located adjacent to the Houston Ship Channel at the company’s 53-acre site in Pasadena, Tex.

Next Wave will convert a portion of North America’s growing ethylene supply to alkylate by utilizing licensed and commercially proven process technologies at the facility, which will have a nameplate capacity of 28,000 b/d of alkylate. Initial production is expected by mid-2022. Project Traveler is underpinned by long-term customer contracts for most of the nameplate capacity. Equity financing for the project is being provided by Energy Capital Partners and members of Next Wave’s senior management. The total cost for the project was not disclosed.

Alkylate, a gasoline blending component, typically comprises 11-13% of the overall gasoline pool in the US. Next Wave’s alkylate product, Optimate, can be produced with 96.0 road octane (98.0 Research Octane Number), a low 3.5 Reid vapor pressure, and 5 ppm or less of sulfur.

The facility design includes the ability to expand production capacity. Engineering for a second alkylation unit at the Pasadena site has already commenced, said Michael Bloesch, Next Wave president and chief executive officer.

The facility will be able to consume over 1.2 billion lb/year of ethylene feedstock, which will be delivered to the site by multiple pipelines. The product will be delivered via direct-connection pipelines to major gasoline blending terminals in Pasadena, which have dock access to marine movements through the Houston Ship Channel as well as connections to major refined product distribution pipelines. If warranted, the facility is designed to accommodate receipt of feedstock and delivery of product by rail.