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State, Feds OK Expansion of Formosa Petrochemical Plant in Texas

Federal and state regulators have issued air quality permits to Formosa Plastics Corp. for a $2 billion expansion project at its petrochemical plant in Point Comfort, TX.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a greenhouse gas (GHG) permit for the facility on Aug. 5. Specifically, the agency issued three GHG Prevention of Significant Deterioration construction permits for actions at the facility's turbines, olefins and low density polyethylene (LDPE) units.

Regulators with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) followed suit, issuing a preliminary decision to issue an air quality permit [No. 20203] for the facility on Aug. 5. TCEQ later issued an amended preliminary decision to issue the permit on Aug. 13.

According to regulators, Formosa will add two new gas-fired combined-cycle gas turbines -- each with 80 MW of generation capacity -- to the facility's existing chemical utility unit, which following the expansion will consist of six existing GE 7EA gas-fired turbines and two new ones of the same model, with duct burners.

The expansion is expected to create 1,800 construction jobs and 225 permanent jobs.

The EPA said it has approved 50 GHG permits in Texas alone, and has received 83 applications for them since 2011. The agency added that among the states, Texas is the top recipient of GHG permits, for projects collectively valued at more than $24 billion and creating more than 20,000 construction jobs in the state.

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