Total, Borealis and NOVA to build new cracker, PE plant on US Gulf coast

27 March 2017 15:56 Source:ICIS News

(update adds detail and commentary in paragraphs 4-9)

TotalSAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--Total, Borealis and NOVA Chemicals plan to form a joint venture to build a $1.7bn world-scale ethane cracker and polyethylene (PE) unit on the US Gulf coast, the companies announced on Monday.

The plan includes building a new 1m tonne/year cracker in Port Arthur, Texas; use of Total’s existing 400,000 tonne/year PE plant in Bayport, Texas; and building a new 625,000 tonne/year PE plant at the Bayport site, the companies announced in a news release.

The joint venture would be established in late 2017, with a final investment decision (FID) on the new PE plant to be taken up simultaneously.

The engineering, procurement and construction contract has been awarded to CB&I, with start up for the cracker scheduled for 2020.

"After significant investments in US LNG and US shale gas in 2016, this almost two-billion-dollar investment signals our determination to strengthen our presence in the US, where we have operated for 60 years and have more than 6,000 employees," said Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne.

"We want to take advantage of the business-friendly environment to contribute to making American petrochemicals even greater. By joining forces with Borealis and Nova, we aim to create a major player in the US polyethylene market."

NOVA Chemicals CEO Todd Karran said the joint venture will complement the company's existing assets in Canada and broaden its PE product slate.

 "Working in a JV with NOVA Chemicals and Total on a cost-effective brownfield investment project, integrated with a cracker is an attractive opportunity," said Borealis CEO Mark Garrett.

"We can also leverage our proven technology and benefit from large-scale experience gained in other projects (e.g., Borouge) and develop the project together with NOVA Chemicals," he added.

Additional reporting by Jeremy Pafford

Image: Total's headquarters in Paris. Source: Sipa Press/REX/Shutterstock

By Niall Swan