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LyondellBasell Picks NGL-Rich Gulf Coast for New Plant

The abundant supply of natural gas liquids (NGL) in the Gulf Coast region has prompted LyondellBasell to build a world-scale propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The plant is expected to be operational in 2019 and is to have an annual PO capacity of 900 million pounds. TBA and derivatives capacity is to be 2 billion pounds per year. Feedstocks would be Propylene, butane, methanol and ethanol, a spokesman said.

"While we have not finalized the exact location of the plant, the abundant natural gas liquids associated with shale gas make the U.S. Gulf Coast an advantaged feedstock region," said Pat Quarles, LyondellBasell senior vice president of intermediates and derivatives. "This project combines our leading proprietary PO/TBA technology with low-cost feedstock and demonstrates our continued commitment to capturing maximum advantage of market opportunities."

The plant is expected to sell PO in the global marketplace to meet growing demand for polyurethanes, which are used primarily for the manufacture of bedding, furniture, carpets and car seats. TBA and its derivatives will be sold to meet the need for high-octane gasoline blending components as well as for use in manufacturing synthetic rubber and lubricant additives.

LyondellBasell spokesman George Smalley said the plant most likely will be sited in Texas. "We have begun the process of selecting the specific location along the U.S. Gulf Coast that will meet our commercial, logistical and economic needs," Smalley told NGI. "We expect to complete this process soon as we gather important feedback from elected officials, governmental agencies and other stakeholders.

Late last year, LyondellBasell restarted a methanol plant in Channelview, TX, and credited low-cost natural gas for the move (see Daily GPI, Jan. 3).

The Gulf Coast region, in particular, has been enjoying a petrochemical industry renaissance, thanks to abundant and low-cost supplies of natural gas and NGLs (see Daily GPI, Feb. 21; Dec. 30, 2013).

In May BASF Corp., the North American affiliate of BASF SE of Germany, said it is considering developing a world-scale methane-to-propylene complex on the U.S. Gulf Coast (see Daily GPI, May 2). Earlier this year, a partnership of units of Sasol Ltd. and Ineos Europe AG said it would build a high-density polyethylene plant in the La Porte, TX, petrochemical complex southeast of Houston (see Daily GPI, June 9).

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