LyondellBasell said it would proceed with plans to build the world’s largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant in the Houston area.

“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 [NGL] available on the U.S. Gulf Coast, along with our leading proprietary PO/TBA technology, will allow this proposed project to capture maximum advantage of market opportunities.”

LyondellBasell announced the PO/TBA project in August 2014 (see Daily GPI, Aug. 26, 2014). Annual production capacities are anticipated to be one billion pounds of PO and two billion pounds of TBA.

The plant would 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, which include oxy-fuels, would 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 said it would soon begin front-end engineering design work and file environmental permit applications. A final investment decision is expected after the engineering design work is completed.

The company’s complex in Channelview, TX, was selected as the site for the PO/TBA unit. The Bayport Choate site near Pasadena was selected for an ethers unit, which would produce oxy-fuels for high octane gasoline. A split facility design between the Channelview and Bayport sites would optimize the product balances between the sites and create additional synergies, LyondellBasell said.

The project is part of the company’s previously announced $3-4 billion expansion that would take place on the U.S. Gulf Coast over the next five years. LyondellBasell has already completed work on ethylene expansion projects at its La Porte and Channelview sites in Texas. A third ethylene expansion project is under way in Corpus Christi, TX.