LyondellBasell has broken ground on the largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant in the US.
The $2.4bn investment in the Houston area project is the single-largest capital investment in the company’s history.
The plant will produce one billion pounds (470,000 tonnes) of PO and 2.2 billion pounds (one million tonnes) of TBA annually. The plant is expected to begin operations in 2021.
The company will construct two facilities on existing manufacturing sites to optimise product balances and realise synergies between LyondellBasell sites.
The 140-acre PO/TBA plant will be constructed at the LyondellBasell Channelview Complex located in Channelview, Texas. A 34-acre ethers unit, which will convert TBA to oxyfuels, will be built at the Bayport Complex in Pasadena, Texas.
According to an analysis by the Greater Houston Partnership, the PO/TBA project is estimated to generate more than $453m in tax benefits for the county, school district, community college and other local taxing districts over a 10-year period.
The Channelview site is expected to deliver $349m in tax benefits and the Pasadena site is expected to create $104m in benefits.
The project will create more than 2,200 jobs at the peak of construction and 160 permanent positions.
While PO is used to make bedding, furniture, carpeting, coatings, building materials and adhesives, TBA will be converted to two ether-based oxyfuels – methyl tertiary butyl ether and ethyl tertiary butyl ether.
The company plans to sell the PO and derivative products to domestic and global customers. The oxyfuels will be primarily sold in Latin America and Asia.
Some of the TBA will be used in the domestic market in the form of high-purity isobutylene, which is used in tyres and lubricants.
The PO/TBA project is part of LyondellBasell’s $5bn organic growth programme on the US Gulf Coast.
LyondellBasell CEOBob Patel said: “This plant will be the largest of its kind, built to meet the rising global demand for urethanes used by billions of consumers each day and clean-burning oxyfuels that will help improve air quality around the world.
“The construction of this project will provide jobs for our neighbors, support local businesses and strengthen our communities with increased tax revenues across the greater Houston region.”
Image: LyondellBasell Industries CEO Bob Patel. Photo: courtesy of LyondellBasell Industries Holdings B.V.