“Frankly, we’re ramping up our resource and capability to do several capital projects at one time. So I think it’s a very logical next step for us to consider polypropylene (PP) and even propylene in the US. So stay tuned… it’s certainly on our mind,” said Patel on the company’s Q2 earnings conference call.
LyondellBasell in May started the construction of its 500,000 tonne/year Hyperzone high density polyethylene (HDPE) project in LaPorte, Texas, to be completed in mid-2019. And on 21 July, the company announced a final investment decision to build a $2.4bn propylene oxide/tertiary butyl alcohol (PO/TBA) project in Channelview, Texas, to start up in 2021.
The company has also been ramping up ethylene production at its recently expanded Corpus Christi, Texas cracker, with operating rates today having reached the mid-to-upper 90% range.
LyondellBasell is also eyeing an ethylene debottleneck at its Channelview, Texas cracker and new PE unit in the 2020s.
“Beyond the PP and propylene related investment we might consider, we still have one more debottleneck we can do at our Channelview cracker,” said Patel.
“Our plan is to execute that debottleneck, which will come in two phases early in the next decade. And then it would be very logical then to build PE to consume that ethylene, to maintain a merchant ethylene position of something like 15%,” he added.
The ethylene debottleneck in two phases would total around 550m lb/year (250,000 tonnes/year), said Patel.