Petrochemical giant LyondellBasell said Thursday it intends to move forward on its biggest capital investment ever: the construction of the world’s largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) facility. The facility will be located in Channelview, Texas, and the associated project is expected to create up to 2,500 construction jobs and about 100 permanent positions.
The company said it will soon start front-end engineering design work and file environmental permit applications. This phase will also include funding to order long lead-time equipment. A FID is expected to be made following completion of the engineering design work.
The company’s Bayport Choate site near Pasadena was chosen for an ethers unit that will produce oxy-fuels for high octane gasoline. A split facility design between the Channelview and Bayport locations will optimize the product balances between the sites and create additional synergies.
“We are moving forward in a deliberate fashion to develop what could become the single largest capital investment in LyondellBasell’s history,” said CEO Bob Patel. “We continue to believe that the combination of low-cost natural gas liquids available on the US Gulf Coast, along with our leading proprietary PO/TBA technology, will allow this proposed project to capture maximum advantage of market opportunities.”
Part Of A $3-$4 Billion Expansion Effort
This project is part of LyondellBasell’s previously announced $3 – $4 billion expansion effort that will occur along the US Gulf Coast, mostly in Texas, over the next five years. The company recently completed ethylene expansion projects at its Channelview and La Porte locations. A third ethylene expansion project is now underway in Corpus Christi.
LyondellBasell first announced the PO/TBA project in August of 2014. Annual production capacities are expected to be one billion pounds of propylene oxide and two billion pounds of tertiary butyl alcohol.
The facility will sell PO in the global marketplace to meet growing demand for polyurethanes, which are used mainly for making bedding, furniture, carpets and car seats. TBA and its derivatives, which include oxy-fuels, will be sold to meet the demand for high octane gasoline blending components as well as for use in manufacturing synthetic rubber and lubricant additives.