Start-up date for possible OxyChem US cracker pushed to 2017

06 February 2013 18:16  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Occidental Chemical and Mexichem may start production at the proposed US cracker in February 2017, later than initially announced, according to an application for an air permit.

US-based chemicals producer Occidental Chemical (OxyChem) did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

When the project was announced last year, the start-up date was 2016.

The proposed cracker will be built at OxyChem's existing site in Ingleside, Texas, and it will have a capacity of 1.2bn lb/year (544,000 tonnes/year). It will have five cracking furnaces.

The project was said to cost over $1bn (€740m).

The cracker will receive feedstock ethane from a pipeline or from a planned natural gas liquids (NGL) fractionation plant, to be built on an adjacent property, according to the application, which OxyChem filed in December with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The resulting ethylene will be used as feedstock for an existing vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) plant at Ingleside, OxyChem said.

OxyChem would sell the VCM to Mexichem under a long-term contract. Mexichem would then use the VCM to produce polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in Mexico.

Last year, the two companies had signed a memorandum of understanding to evaluate the project. Already, OxyChem has commissioned CB&I for the basic engineering design of the cracker.

The OxyChem joint venture is one of two that Mexichem is pursuing in order to secure feedstock VCM for its PVC plants.

Mexichem is also proceeding with its VCM joint venture with Pemex.

Under it, VCM production at Pemex's Pajaritos site is expected to increase by 24,000 tonnes in the first year of operation, 146,000 in the second and 217,000 in the third.

The joint venture was initially announced in June 2011, and had been waiting for Pemex board backing. Only recently had Pemex decided to approve the deal.

($1 = €0.74)

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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