US EPA issues permit for LyondellBasell Texas cracker expansion

16 April 2014 20:12 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final greenhouse gas permit for LyondellBasell's expansion project at its cracker in Corpus Christi, Texas, the regulator said on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, LyondellBasell said it should complete the expansion project in the fourth quarter of 2015. It will increase the capacity of the cracker by 800m lb/year (353,000 tonnes/year).

The cracker's permit is the first of its kind. While the EPA issued the permit, it was drafted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

The two sides have been in dispute about greenhouse-gas (GHG) permitting since the EPA completed final regulations for the permits in June 2010.

The EPA wanted states to draft their own greenhouse-gas regulations. However, it found the regulations in Texas to be inadequate. As a result, the EPA imposed its own federal regulations on the state.

Texas challenged the new rules, and an appeals court sided with the EPA.

Texas is now working to replace the federal plan with its own programme, which would eliminate the need for companies to get air permits from the EPA.

Texas and the EPA are now working together to determine how much greenhouse gases a new or modified plant can emit.

Regarding the Corpus Christi project, it is among several that LyondellBasell is pursuing.

In the second quarter, LyondellBasell should complete the expansion of its cracker in La Porte, Texas, which would also increase capacity by 800m lb/year.

In the first quarter of 2015, the company should complete a 250m lb/year ethylene expansion at Channelview, Texas.

The following lists ethylene expansion projects:

EXPANSIONS C2 capacity Location Start-up
INEOS 115,000 tonnes Chocolate Bayou, Texas 2014
Williams 273,000 tonnes Geismar, Louisiana Apr 2014
Westlake Chemical 82,000 tonnes Calvert City, Kentucky Q2 2014
LyondellBasell 363,000 tonnes La Porte, Texas mid-2014
Chevron Phillips Chemical 91,000 tonnes Sweeny. Texas 2014
Westlake Chemical 113,000 tonnes Lake Charles, Louisiana 2014
LyondellBasell 113,000 tonnes Channelview, Texas 2015
LyondellBasell 363,000 tonnes Corpus Christi, Texas Late 2015
Huntsman 19,300 tonnes Port Neches, Texas NA
BASF Fina Petrochemicals NA Port Arthur, Texas 2014
Source: Companies, ICIS analysis

By Al Greenwood