EPCA ’13: US cracker project timelines may move up: consultant

06 October 2013 13:15  [Source: ICIS news]

BERLIN (ICIS)--The logjam of proposed ethane cracker projects in the US will likely result in some projects moving up their timelines for startup while others suffer delays, a consultant with ICIS said on Sunday.

With those projects having the same window for construction, companies will get creative with getting their plants built or will face delays, said Karl Bartholomew during a presentation at the 47th annual European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting.

On the US Gulf Coast alone, six ethane crackers have been proposed to take advantage of the shale gas revolution, with construction and start-up planned to take place by 2016-2017.

Among the six, only Chevron Phillips Chemical has secured the necessary federal and state air permits to start building a new cracker.

The rest – Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil Chemical, Sasol, Formosa Plastics, Occidental Chemical/Mexichem and Shell – are in various stages of securing these permits.

Also, a host of companies are expanding their current cracker capacities to take advantage of the US shale gas advantage.

Labour will be a premium as companies look to secure the engineering and construction of the plants, so some may look to bring in international workers to the Gulf Coast as part of a joint venture on the projects, Bartholomew said.

There still will be a nomadic element to the building of the crackers, with crews of workers going from one cracker to another as the projects get constructed, he said.

Some companies likely will end up delaying their cracker projects past the 2016-2017 timeline, he added.

The EPCA meeting runs 5-9 October.

Additional reporting by Joseph Chang

By: Jeremy Pafford
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