LyondellBasell to slow down construction of Texas plant amid COVID-19 concerns

WCN Editorial Team 31 Mar 2020 NORTH AMERICA BUILDINGS

Plastics and chemicals manufacturer LyondellBasell announced that it will slow down the construction at its propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant in Channelview, Texas amid concerns of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

LyondellBasell said that it has informed the engineering and construction contractors to slow the construction and has limited non-essential activities at this point of time.

LyondellBasell Intermediates & Derivatives (I&D) executive vice president Torkel Rhenman said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and evolving. Because the PO/TBA site is currently under construction and not producing needed products yet, in the interest of health and safety we believe it is prudent to limit construction activities at this time.

“We remain committed to the completion of this strategic investment incorporating our low-cost, next generation PO/TBA technology. Over the next several weeks, we will be working with our contractors and suppliers to develop a revised project timeline.”

The company broke ground on the PO/TBA project in August 2018. Presently, the project is touted to be more than 30% complete with ongoing installation of key equipment and towers.

The project has been designed to have split-facility to optimise synergies between the company’s two existing sites. A 140-acre PO/TBA plant is being built at the company's Channelview facility and an associated 34-acre ethers unit is being built at its Bayport Complex in Pasadena.

When completed, the PO/TBA plant is expected to produce nearly one billion pounds (470,000 metric tons) of PO and 2.2 billion pounds (one million metric tons) of TBA annually, which will be used for producing insulation material, home comfort, cleaner fuels and other consumer applications.

The company also stated that the announcement does not impact its ongoing operations at Channelview or Bayport, which have been designated as part of US’ critical infrastructure by the Department of Homeland Security.

LyondellBasell produces materials and products that essential for enhancing food safety through lightweight and flexible packaging, protecting the purity of water supplies and also in improving safety, comfort and fuel efficiency of cars and trucks. Its products and materials are sold in more than 100 countries.


The sign at LyondellBasell headquarters in Houston, Texas. (Credit: Howell.)

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