US Axiall mulls new cracker, derivatives plant in Louisiana

19 December 2013 23:28 Source:ICIS News

US Axiall mulls new cracker, derivatives plant in LouisianaHOUSTON (ICIS)--Axiall may build a world-scale cracker and derivatives plant in Louisiana with a soon-to-be-named partner, the US-based vinyls producer said on Thursday.

The company did not specify the ethylene derivative.

The total cost of the project could be $3bn (€2bn), with the partner contributing $2bn and Axiall contributing the rest through a combination of new debt and cash on hand, the company said.

Axiall will now begin the permitting process and some of the front-end engineering design (FEED) work, the company said.

If Axiall chooses a site and goes ahead with the project, operations could start in 2018, the company said.

Axiall already has two plants in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and one in Plaquemine, Louisiana.

Axiall uses ethylene as a feedstock for vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), which is used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

“As part of Axiall’s long-term growth strategy, we believe it is important we have further integration with cost-based economics on 50% of our current annual ethylene requirements,” according to a statement by Axiall CEO, Paul Carrico.

“While we are still considering a number of options and potential partners for the project, and we have not yet received final investment approval from our board of directors, we have narrowed our siting choices to Louisiana," he said.

Several companies are also expanding ethylene capacity in the US and Canada. Producers are eager to take advantage of low-cost ethane feedstock, made available through the advent of shale gas.

The following lists the projects.

 

NORTH AMERICA ETHYLENE EXPANSIONS BASED ON SHALE GAS

Company

Project

Capacity

Location

Start-up

Sasol

New cracker

1.5m tonnes

Lake Charles, Louisiana

2017

Occidental Chemical/Mexichem

New cracker

544,000 tonnes

Ingleside, Texas

Feb 2017

ExxonMobil Chemical

New cracker

1.5m tonnes

Baytown, Texas

Late 2016

Chevron Phillips Chemical

New cracker

1.5m tonnes

Cedar Bayou, Texas

mid-late 2017

Dow Chemical

New cracker

1.5m tonnes

Freeport, Texas

2017

Shell

New cracker

World-scale

Monaca, Pennsylvania

2019-2020*

Formosa Plastics

New cracker

1.2m tonnes

Point Comfort, Texas

2017

Williams

Expansion

272,158 tonnes

Geismar, Louisiana

Q4 2013**

INEOS

Debottleneck

115,000 tonnes

Chocolate Bayou, Texas

end 2013

Westlake Chemical

Expansion

113,399 tonnes

Lake Charles, Louisiana

2014

Westlake Chemical

Expansion

82,000 tonnes

Calvert City, Kentucky

Q2 2014

LyondellBasell

Expansion

363,000 tonnes

La Porte, Texas

mid-2014

LyondellBasell

Expansion

113,000 tonnes

Channelview, Texas

2015

LyondellBasell

Expansion

363,000 tonnes

Corpus Christi, Texas

Late 2015

BASF Fina Petrochemicals

Expansion

NA

Port Arthur, Texas

2014

Considered expansions

LyondellBasell

New cracker

World-scale

US

NA

Hanwha Chemical

New cracker

World-scale

US

NA

Axiall

New cracker

World-scale

US

NA

Indorama Ventures

New cracker

1.3m tonnes

US

NA

SABIC

New cracker

World-scale

US

NA

Odebrecht

New cracker

World-scale

US

NA

PTT Global Chemical

New cracker

World-scale

US

NA

Aither Chemicals

New cracker

272,000 tonnes

US Northeast

2016

NOVA Chemicals

Expansion

NA

Corunna, Ontario, Canada

NA

* ICIS estimate
** Timing uncertain after explosion on 13 June 2013

($1 = €0.73)

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By Al Greenwood