Chevron Phillips restarts Texas cracker that was idled for 2 years

15 December 2010 18:15  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Chevron Phillips Chemical was restarting its Sweeny 22 cracker Texas, which was idled at the height of the financial crisis in 2008, market sources said on Wednesday.

Start-up activities at the 295,000 tonne/year unit began on 10 December, according to a filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

A Chevron Phillips spokesperson declined to comment on the restart, citing policy.

The company idled the cracker in November 2008, blaming the shutdown on weak ethylene demand at the time.

Chevron Phillips has two other crackers in Sweeny with a combined capacity of 1.6m tonnes/year.

Sweeny 24 has 676,000 tonnes/year of capacity, while Sweeny 33 has 907,000 tonnes/year.

The restart of Sweeny 22 points to a new expansion trend in the US olefins industry, which is benefiting from cheap ethane feedstock availability and firm monomer demand.

Eastman Chemical, which idled one of its crackers in November 2008, was also in the process of restarting the unit.

"This decision was prompted by improved forecasts for the feedstock and olefin markets over the next several years,” said a market participant familiar with the company.

Eastman’s 141,000 tonne/year Longview cracker in Texas was already running, another source said.

Eastman did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation.

The company has another cracker in Longview with 141,000 tonnes/year of ethylene capacity and a larger unit with 358,000 tonnes/year.

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By: William Lemos
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