Projects: CP Chem plans 1-hexene project in Texas

16 April 2012 00:00  [Source: ICB]

Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem) plans to build an on-purpose 1-hexene plant at its Cedar Bayou site in Baytown, Texas, US. The US producer said the plant would have a capacity of up to 250,000 tonnes/year, making it the world's largest of its kind.

Construction is expected to begin in the first half of 2012, with start-up scheduled for the first quarter of 2014.

CPChem chief executive Peter Cella said the project will address tight 1-hexene supplies as a result of growing polyethylene (PE) production. "I think it puts us in a great spot to continue to supply our customers," he said on the sidelines of the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC), hosted by American Fuels & Petrochemicals Manufacturers (AFPM). 1-hexene "is a critical co-monomer in the manufacture of PE, and I think it has been getting pretty tight in the market place," he added.

S&B Engineers and Constructors has been awarded the contract to build the plant using CPChem's on-purpose 1-hexene technology. CPChem already uses the technology at its Q-Chem joint venture in Mesaieed, Qatar and the technology will soon be used at its Saudi Polymers joint venture in Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia.


Meanwhile, CPChem, a 50:50 joint venture between ConocoPhillips and Chevron, is considering a $5bn cracker project and construction of two PE lines in Texas. The parent companies intend to make an investment decision by the end of 2013.


 Cella: 'CPChem in a great spot'

"We expect to go to our owners for approval by the end of 2013," said Cella. "I think our customers are eager for us to make this investment."

CPChem plans to build a 1.5m tonne/year ethane cracker at Cedar Bayou, with start-up expected in 2017. The PE project would be located at Cedar Bayou or at CPChem's Sweeny cracker complex at Old Ocean.

The decision where to locate the two PE lines will take into account factors such as workforce availability, ease of construction and local community incentives.

Integration into CPChem's existing operations is another factor. "One of the benefits if we put it at Sweeny is it would integrate Sweeny," Cella said.

"Right now there are no derivative units at Sweeny, so 100% of the olefins produced at Sweeny are exported."


In Saudi Arabia, Cella said CPChem has pushed back the start-up of the Saudi Polymers project to the second quarter of 2012 while commissioning and testing continues.

Saudi Polymers, which is 35% owned by CPChem subsidiary Arabian Chevron Phillips Petrochemical (ACP) and 65% by Saudi Arabia's National Petrochemical (Petrochem), had previously planned for a first quarter start-up.

The Saudi Polymers project includes capacities for 1.165m tonnes/year of ethylene, 445,000 tonnes/year of propylene, 1.1m tonnes/year of PE, 400,000 tonnes/year of polypropylene (PP), 200,000 tonnes/year of polystyrene (PS) and 100,000 tonnes/year of 1-hexene.


NOVA Chemicals is considering building two polyethylene (PE) plants and expanding its ethylene capacity in Canada, said Grant Thompson, president of olefins and feedstock at the Canadian producer.

NOVA has taken several actions to secure additional ethane feedstock supply for its crackers in Corunna, Ontario, and Joffre, Alberta. The new feedstock supplies would help the Joffre crackers reach capacity production rates, which in turn could feed a new derivatives plant, Thompson said.

"It is common knowledge that we haven't been running our Joffre facility at capacity because of the feedstock situation in Alberta," he said on the sidelines of the AFPM meeting. "We have done a number of things to resolve that beginning in 2014." NOVA has 2.8m tonnes/year of ethylene capacity at Joffre.

"The feasibility studies we are doing look at new derivative plants, what location we want to put them in, the timing, which NOVA technologies we're going to do on these plants," Thompson said. "Those studies are going on through 2012."

NOVA is also "looking at how large can we economically make our ethylene facilities," Thompson said. "We will be looking at both east and west facilities [Corunna and Joffre], which will have to coincide with continued growth in ethane feedstock."

  • Additional reporting by Anna Jagger in London

By: Brian Ford
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