Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LLC (CPChem) has approved a project to expand capacity of its petrochemical plant in Beringen, Belgium, in the country’s eastern province of Limburg.
Pending local approval of permits, the project will involve construction of a new unit that will double the Beringen plant’s production capacity of polyalphaolefins (PAO) to 120,000 tonnes/year upon its planned startup in 2024, CPChem said in a release.
Designed to benefit from advantages in infrastructure and feedstock availability at the site, Beringen’s newly proposed low-viscosity PAO unit comes as part of CPChem’s commitment to meeting increased global demand for PAOs used in synthetic products such as lubricants, greases, and fluids, as well as essential components in automotive, industrial, cosmetics, technology, and military applications, according to the operator.
“The construction of a new unit near our existing [Beringen] assets will allow us to benefit from strong local expertise and leverage Belgium’s central position to meet customer needs globally,” said Mitch Eichelberger, CPChem’s executive vice-president of polymers and specialties
Expansion of its PAO production capacity also supports the company’s commitment to accelerating change for a sustainable future, as PAOs help reduce energy consumption through efficient lubrication, which lowers fuel consumption and emissions by reducing friction, CPChem said.
The operator said increased global demand for PAOs is fueled by the PAO molecules’ performance at extreme temperatures, as well as by new applications that include electric and fuel-efficient vehicles and heat-transfer fluid.
Characterizing the new Beringen PAO unit only as a “significant investment,” CPChem did not reveal a precise value of the proposed project.
CP Chem—which also produces PAO at its Cedar Bayou plant in Baytown, Tex., in the Houston Ship Channel, 28 miles east of Houston—is a 50-50 joint venture of Chevron Corp.’s Chevron USA Inc. and Phillips 66’s Phillips 66 Co.