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North America

05.01.2011  |  Meche, Helen,  Hydrocarbon Processing Staff, Houston, TX

Keywords: [construction] [ethylene] [feasibility study] [crude oil] [licensing] [gas treating] [EPC] [bitumen extraction]

Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., LP, is advancing a feasibility study to construct a world-scale ethane cracker and ethylene derivatives at one of its existing facilities in the US Gulf Coast region. The new facility would use the advantaged feed sources expected from development of shale-gas reserves. According to Tim Taylor, COO for Chevron Phillips Chemical, the company is finalizing its evaluation of potential sites and advancing discussions with engineering, procurement and construction contractors. The feasibility study is expected to be complete by the end of 2011.

Praxair, Inc., plans to double the capacity of its Memphis, Tennessee, air-separation complex to produce oxygen and nitrogen in order to supply Nucor Corp. and Valero Energy Corp. Praxair has completed constructing a pipeline capable of serving multiple clients in the Riverport area. A new plant is expected to start up in the third quarter of 2011. As part of this planned expansion, Praxair will add 400 tpd of new liquid production capacity to serve the growing requirements of customers in this region.

Valero Energy Corp. plans to expand crude-unit capacity at its McKee, Texas, refinery by 25,000 bpd. The refinery will process West Texas Intermediate crude oil from Midland, Texas, to feed the increased charge rate. The expansion project, which will take place over the next three years, will increase the amount of crude oil available to be processed at the McKee refinery to 195,000 bpd.

The expansion plans follow the previously announced Panhandle crude-gathering system expansion project, which is nearing completion. That project involves looping an existing pipeline from Valero’s storage facility in Perryton, Texas, as well as building additional pump stations and storage facilities to bring more locally produced crude to the McKee refinery.

Merichem Co. has entered into a licensing and equipment-supply agreement with a leading midstream energy-services provider to install a LO-CAT hydrogen sulfide (H2S) treatment system at its shale gas-treating facility in Louisiana. The 6.93-metric-tpd LO-CAT unit, provided through the Merichem Gas Technologies business unit, will be integrated into the overall processing facility, with a proposed startup date during the fourth quarter of 2011.

The LO-CAT unit will be treating 34.6 million scfd of amine acid gas with an H2S removal efficiency of 99.9%, far exceeding current environmental standards. This will be the second LO-CAT system to be installed in the Haynesville Shale play for this client, and the third LO-CAT unit to be installed in the Haynesville play. LO-CAT is becoming recognized as the sulfur recovery system of choice for the shale gas industry.

CB&I has been awarded a contract by Imperial Oil Resources for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) work on the Kearl oil sands project in Alberta, Canada. The value of CB&I’s work scope is in excess of $900 million. This includes $500 million of incremental work releases booked prior to 2011. CB&I will be responsible for the EPC execution of the bitumen extraction plant and tank farms, as well as the design, supply and construction of additional storage vessels. Completion is expected in the third quarter of 2012.  HP

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