Total partners to expand USGC petchem production

Total SA has signed a preliminary agreement with Nova Chemicals Corp., Calgary, and Borealis AG of Vienna to build a steam cracker and polyethylene production plant at Houston-based subsidiary Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA Inc.’s manufacturing sites along the Texas Gulf Coast.

Content Dam Ogj Online Articles 2017 03 170327 Total Portarthurrefinery

Total SA has signed a preliminary agreement with Nova Chemicals Corp., Calgary, and Borealis AG of Vienna to build a steam cracker and polyethylene (PE) production plant at Houston-based subsidiary Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA Inc.’s (TPRI) manufacturing sites along the Texas Gulf Coast.

Partners in the proposed joint venture would develop and hold ownership interest in both a grassroots, 1 million-tonne/year ethane steam cracker at Total’s 178,000-b/d integrated refinery in Port Arthur, Tex., and a 625,000-tpy PE plant based on Borealis’ proprietary Borstar PE process at Total’s petrochemical production site in Bayport, Tex., the companies said.

Nova Chemicals and Borealis also would take ownership interest in Total’s existing 400,000-tpy PE plant at the Bayport site.

Intended to help meet growing global demand for PE by taking advantage of competitively priced ethane feedstock from US shale production as well as easy export access to markets abroad, the cost-effective brownfield investment project also enables Total, Nova Chemicals, and Borealis to leverage existing synergies to help further integrate and expand their respective businesses in the Americas, the companies said.

Content Dam Ogj Online Articles 2017 03 170327 Total Portarthurrefinery

Pending regulatory approvals, the JV is scheduled to form and final investment decision taken on the project by yearend, the companies said.

If approved, the $1.7-billion ethane cracker and Borstar PE unit are planned for startup in late 2020.

Total said it expects to hold a 50% stake in the new JV.

Project history

Total’s announcement of the proposed partnership with Nova Chemicals and Borealis follows the French operator’s previous confirmation of its plan build a 1 million-tpy ethane steam cracker at the Port Arthur production site, which alongside the refinery, also hosts BASF Corp. (60%)-TPRI (40%) jointly owned BASF Total Petrochemicals LCC’s more than 1 million-tpy ethylene plant (OGJ Online, June 4, 2015; Mar. 24, 2014; May 23, 2013).

According to its 2016 annual report to investors released in March, Total completed front-end engineering design for Port Arthur’s proposed ethane steam cracker in mid-2016.

Total also said on Mar. 27 that it has let a contract to CB&I, Houston, to provide engineering, procurement, and construction services for the new cracker.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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