HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US will continue starting up new petrochemical plants in 2018, after Hurricane Harvey kept some companies from beginning operations during the previous year.
The table below shows the plants that will start up in 2018:
|Chevron Phillips||1.5m||Ethylene||Cedar Bayou, Texas||Q1 2018|
|Sasol||1.5m||Ethylene||Lake Charles, Louisiana||H2 2018|
|Sasol||470,000||LLDPE||Lake Charles, Louisiana||H2 2018|
|Sasol||420,000||LDPE||Lake Charles, Louisiana||H2 2018|
|Formosa Plastics||400,000||LDPE||Point Comfort, Texas||H2 2018|
|Formosa Plastics||400,000||HDPE||Point Comfort, Texas||H2 2018|
|Formosa Plastics||1.2m||Ethylene||Point Comfort, Texas||Q4 2018|
These plants represent a continuation of the wave of start-ups that began in 2017.
The table below shows the major plants that either started operations in 2017 or were expected to do so by the end of the year:
|Braskem||NA||UHMWPE||La Porte, Texas|
|Chevron Phillips||500,000||Bimodal HDPE||Old Ocean, Texas|
|Chevron Phillips||500,000||mLLDPE||Old Ocean, Texas|
|DowDuPont||400,000||Elite PE||Freeport, Texas|
|DowDuPont||350,000||specialty LDPE||Plaquemine, Louisiana|
|ExxonMobil||650,000||mLLDPE||Mont Belvieu, Texas|
|ExxonMobil||650,000||LLDPE||Mont Belvieu, Texas|
|NOVA Chemicals||454,000||LLDPE||Joffre, Alberta|
|Occidental Chemical/Mexichem||544,000||Ethylene||Ingleside, Texas|
|Sasol/INEOS||470,000||HDPE||La Porte, Texas|
The year 2017 was not just a time of plant start-ups. Companies also announced plans to build even more plants, which could extend the boom well into the next decade.
The wave of new plants being built in the US is based on low-cost feedstock made available by the advent of shale gas.
US energy producers late adapted the shale-gas technology to oil production, providing the chemical industry with even more supplies of low-cost ethane and other natural-gas liquids (NGLs).
Low oil prices interrupted the growth of this second source of NGLs. But prices have since recovered from their lows, and oil producers found ways to cut costs. Shale oil has once again became profitable, even as prices remain below their previous highs.
Not only did oil production recover in the US, it set new records, and NGL output also rose as a result. Midstream companies were once again building new natural-gas processing plants and NGL pipelines to handle all of the associated gas being produced by these new wells.
Once again, the US was enjoying rising supplies of feedstock. They responded by announcing new projects. For many of these announcements as well as for older ones, companies have yet to make final investment decisions (FIDs).
Regardless of where companies stand in the decision-making process, most of them are building either crackers or downstream polyethylene (PE) plants. But some companies are building plants that will make other products.
In 2017, LyondellBasell made a final investment decision to build a propylene oxide/tertiary butyl alcohol (PO/TBA) plant in Channelview, Texas. When completed in 2021, the plant will produce 470,000 tonnes/year of PO and 1m tonnes/year of TBA.
Mossi & Ghisolfi (M&G) was supposed to complete an integrated polyester plant that it was building in Corpus Christi, Texas. However, the company filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11, and it now plans to sell the unfinished project. The plant would have a capacity of 1.1m tonnes/year of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and 1.3m tonnes/year of purified terephthalate acid (PTA).