Motiva seeks incentives for cracker, benzene/PX plant on US Gulf

Author: Al Greenwood


HOUSTON (ICIS)--Motiva Enterprise may build a new cracker and aromatics project at its refinery complex on the US Gulf Coast, according to documents it filed with the Texas state government.

PE is used to make bags. (Photo credit: Dinendra Haria/REX/Shutterstock)

Both projects would be world scale, and Motiva would build them at its complex in Port Arthur, Texas, Motiva said in a Chapter 313 application it filed with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Such applications provide companies with tax incentives if they are approved by the state.

Motiva did not specify the capacity of the projects.

In a statement, the company said that it may make a final investment decision (FID) by the end of 2019.

Construction on the ethylene plant could start in the first quarter of 2020 and operations could start in the fourth quarter of 2022, Motiva said. The company could invest $4.68bn on it.

Based on an earlier announcement, the ethylene plant would rely on mixed feeds.

Construction on the aromatics unit could start in the second quarter of 2020, and operations could start in the fourth quarter of 2022.

The aromatics project would produce benzene and paraxylene (PX), Motiva said. It estimates investing nearly $2bn in the project.

Both projects are still in the evaluation stage, Motiva said. So far, Motiva has signed agreements regarding preliminary design and engineering work as well as developing other technical studies and estimates. These will help the company determine whether the projects are technically viable and cost competitive.

Motiva hinted that it may consider other locations, saying that other places also offer incentive programmes to attract investment.

In the statement, Motiva said the FID would depend on strong economics, incentives and support from regulators.

Earlier this year, Motiva's parent company, Saudi Aramco, announced that the company had signed $8bn-10bn worth of memoranda of understanding (MoUs) covering process technologies for possible ethylene and aromatics units in the US.

One of the memoranda will evaluate using TechnipFMC's mixed-feed ethylene production technologies. Another will evaluate using Honeywell UOP's aromatics extraction and production technologies for benzene and paraxylene (PX).

(adds Motiva comments, paragraphs 5, 12)

Image above shows polyethylene (PE) bags, which are made from ethylene. Photo by Dinendra Haria/REX/Shutterstock