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Gulf Coast Ethane Cracker Cleared to Begin Construction

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has issued air permits to Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. (CPChem) LP, moving plans for a 3.3 billion pounds/year ethane cracker and two new polyethylene facilities on Texas' Gulf Coast one step closer to reality, the company said.

The TCEQ permits, combined with a greenhouse gas permit for the cracker that was issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year, gives CPChem all the requisite permits it needs to begin construction of the facilities, according to Ron Corn, vice president of corporate planning and development.

The 3.3 billion pounds/year ethane cracker would be built at CPChem's Cedar Bayou facility in Baytown, TX, while the two new polyethylene facilities, each with an annual capacity of 1.1 billion pounds, would be built on a site near the CPChem Sweeny facility in Old Ocean, TX.

Final board approval will be sought later this year, Corn said. CPChem said the entire Gulf Coast project is expected to create 400 long-term direct jobs and 10,000 engineering and construction jobs. The project is expected to be completed in 2017.

When it selected the Old Ocean site last year, CPChem said construction there would better position the location for potential future investments (see Daily GPIMay 1, 2012).

 Woodlands, TX-based CPChem -- a 50-50 partnership of Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips -- launched a feasibility study of plans to build a "world-scale" ethane cracker and ethylene derivatives facilities in March 2011 (see Daily GPI,Dec. 15, 2011).

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