LyondellBasell cuts rates at Texas cracker after Enterprise blast

08 February 2011 22:19  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--LyondellBasell has reduced rates at its cracker in La Porte, Texas, following a fire at Enterprise Products's natural gas liquids plant in Mont Belvieu, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

LyondellBasell was still waiting for more information about the Enterprise site before making a decision on the La Porte cracker, said David Harpole, a spokesman at LyondellBasell.

Harpole did not disclose the cracker's operating rates, in accordance to company policy.

According to ICIS plants and projects, the La Porte cracker has a capacity of 789,000 tonnes/year of ethylene.

Meanwhile, the company was assessing the cracker's options for alternative feedstocks, Harpole said.

The Enterprise fire caused only minimal disruptions at LyondelBasell's two crackers in Channelview, Texas, Harpole said. Those crackers have greater flexibility and larger feedstock supplies, he said.

Each of the two Channelview crackers has a capacity of 873,000 tonnes/year, according to ICIS plants and projects.

Enterprise's complex in Mont Belvieu is one of the world's largest underground storage centres for natural gas liquids (NGLs). Crackers in the US rely on ethane as feedstock for ethylene.

The Enterprise facilities provide storage services for mixed natural gas liquids, ethane, propane, butanes, natural gasoline and olefins, the company said.

Enterprise Products also operates an NGL fractionation plant in Mont Belvieu. Overall, the NGL fractionation plant has a total capacity of 305,000 bbl/day, the company said on its website.

The fire erupted at about 12:30 hours Houston time (18:30 hours GMT) following explosions at the facility, which were still continuing on Tuesday afternoon, local news reports said.

Market sources said the explosions and subsequent fire occurred in an iso-octane unit on the west side of the complex, near several storage facilities. Those also are near a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) pipeline.

For more on ethylene visit ICIS chemical intelligence
For more on LyondellBasell visit ICIS company intelligence
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: Al Greenwood
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