UpdateEnterprise marks 4th new on-purpose propylene unit in US

21 June 2012 03:01  [Source: ICIS news]

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HOUSTON (ICIS)--Enterprise Products said on Wednesday that it plans to build an on-purpose propylene plant in the US, marking the fourth such unit to be built in the country.

The unit will have a capacity of 750,000 tonnes/year of polymer grade propylene (PGP) and use 35,000 bbl/day of propane.

The facility should be operational by 2015, Enterprise said. The company did not disclose the financial details of the project.

Earlier this year, Formosa Plastics announced plans to build a 600,000 tonne/year propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant at its site in Port Comfort, Texas.

Dow Chemical plans to build two PDH plants, with the first one starting operations in 2015 at its Freeport complex in Texas. The second PDH plant could be completed in 2018, and Dow still has not announced a site.

Such plants use natural-gas-derived propane, instead of naphtha or other crude-based feedstocks.

The advent of shale gas has increased supplies of propane and other natural gas liquids (NGLs), lowering their costs.

Near the end of May, US Gulf propane marked its lowest spot trade since mid-August 2009.

While propane supplies have grown, typical sources of propylene are becoming constrained.

US crackers have switched from naphtha feedstocks to NGLs. Lighter feedstocks produce less propylene.

Refineries, the other major source of US propylene, are contending with weakening gasoline demand.

On the US east coast, some companies have even shut down refineries, further limiting supplies of propylene.

So far, the US has just one PDH plant in operation. The plant, owned by Petrologistics, has a propylene capacity of 544,000 tonnes/year.

The total would rise to five once Dow, Enterprise and Formosa complete their projects.

Additional reporting by Bobbie Clark and Sheena Martin

By: Al Greenwood
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