UpdateUS LyondellBasell shuts down Channelview ETBE unit

18 August 2010 22:22  [Source: ICIS news]

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HOUSTON (ICIS)--LyondellBasell shut down its ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE) unit at the Channelview refinery in Texas due to a furnace upset, the company said on Wednesday.

The company filed the announcement with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). LyondellBasell spokesman David Harpole declined to comment.

ETBE is an oxygenate used as a bio-based replacement for methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) in fuels. The chemical is used extensively in Europe, while demand for it has been growing in Japan, the company said in a press release issued when it started the unit in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The US has largely phased out MTBE in gasoline, replacing it with ethanol as an oxygenate for gasoline.

LyondellBasell has not released its ETBE production capacity, only saying the Channelview unit was “the largest of its kind the world” at its start-up.  

Since then, LyondellBassell has cut MTBE production by nearly two-thirds, to 12,000-15,000 bbl/day, sources have said.

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By: Ben Lefebvre
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