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North America

03.01.2012  |  Meche, Helen,  Hydrocarbon Processing Staff, Houston, TX

Keywords: [construction] [petrochemicals] [propylene] [lubricants] [EPC] [crude oil] [gas processing] [methanol] [catalytic cracking]

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, will provide technology to produce propylene at Dow Chemical Co.’s production site in Texas. Dow Texas Operations will use Honeywell UOP C3 Oleflex technology in a new propane dehydrogenation unit to convert shale-gas-derived propane to propylene. The facility will produce 750,000 metric tpy of polymer-grade propylene.

The unit is scheduled to start up in 2015. It will reportedly be the first of its kind in the US and the largest single-train propane dehydrogenation plant in North America.

Since the technology was commercialized in 1990, Honeywell’s UOP has commissioned nine C3 Oleflex units for on-purpose propylene production, with the 10th unit scheduled to start up in Russia in 2012.

KBR will provide construction services for ExxonMobil’s new synthetics lubricant base-stock facility to be built at ExxonMobil’s refinery and chemical plant complex in Baytown, Texas. When completed in 2013, the facility will produce ExxonMobil Chemical’s high-viscosity SpectraSyn Elite metallocene polyalphaolefin (PAO) base stock.

KBR’s scope of work for the Baytown plant includes site work, civil, structural, pipe, electrical, instrumentation and mechanical installation, as well as test and checkout services. The award by Technip USA, the prime contractor responsible for this new facility’s engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), follows the construction of ExxonMobil’s Flare Gas Recovery Project in Beaumont, Texas, for which KBR and Technip successfully collaborated to execute a complete EPC package.

HollyFrontier Corp. (HFC) plans to expand capacity at its 31,000-bpd Woods Cross, Utah, refinery to 45,000 bpd with an expected completion in late 2014.

The expansion includes the relocation/revamp of crude, fluid catalytic-cracking and polymerization units from a subsidiary of Western Refining Inc.’s Bloomfield, New Mexico, refinery to Woods Cross. It also comprises an expansion of the Woods Cross diesel hydrotreater and investment in associated utilities and offsites. HFC has an agreement with Western Refining to purchase the Bloomfield units.

HFC expects incremental yields from the expansion project to be approximately 60% gasoline and 40% diesel. The expansion cost is estimated to be approximately $225 million, with an expected payback period of less than two years.

In conjunction with the expansion, HollyFrontier signed a 10-year, 20,000-bpd crude-oil supply agreement with Newfield Exploration Co. This agreement, which begins once the expansion is complete, will supply black- and yellow-wax crude oil produced in the nearby Uinta Basin region to the Woods Cross refinery, which has capacity to process approximately 10,000 bpd of these crudes. When the expansion is complete, the Woods Cross refinery will be able to process approximately 24,000 bpd of waxy Utah crudes. This expansion, crude-oil supply agreement and expected completion timeline are subject to HollyFrontier successfully obtaining the necessary permits and regulatory approvals.

ONEOK Partners, L.P.’s new 100 million-cfd natural gas processing Garden Creek plant in eastern McKenzie County, North Dakota, is now operational and serving producers in the Bakken Shale region. The company plans to invest approximately $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion for growth projects in the Bakken Shale between now and 2014 in its natural gas gathering and processing, and natural gas liquids (NGL) businesses. In addition to the Garden Creek plant, these investments include the construction of the Bakken pipeline, an approximately 500-mile NGL pipeline and two additional 100 million-cfd natural gas processing facilities—the Stateline I and Stateline II plants in western Williams County, North Dakota.

The Bakken pipeline is expected to be completed by the first half of 2013. The Stateline I and Stateline II plants are anticipated to be completed by the third quarter of 2012 and the first half of 2013, respectively.

CB&I has been awarded a contract, valued in excess of $750 million, by Imperial Oil Resources Ventures Ltd. for work on the Kearl Expansion Project in Alberta, Canada.

CB&I’s work scope on the expansion project includes the engineering, procurement, module assembly and construction of a second bitumen-extraction plant, along with froth tank farms, multiple storage tanks and six froth-settling units.

Methanex Corp. is planning to move one of its idle methanol plants in Chile to some land that it has secured in Geismar, Louisiana. Site-specific engineering has begun and the plant is expected to be operational in the second half of 2014.

Renewable Manufacturing Gateway (RMG) and Aither Chemicals LLC have agreed to collaborate to finance and build a large chemical plant using Aither’s ethane catalytic-cracker technology. With an investment of $750 million over the next five years, the project is expected to create over 2,000 construction jobs, 200 permanent direct production jobs, and many thousand indirect jobs in the Tri-State Region (western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia). It is anticipated to generate $463 million in annual sales by 2016.

Today the production of ethane-derived petrochemicals utilizes steam-cracking technology developed in West Virginia by Union Carbide Corp. in the 1920s. The birth of this technology reportedly helped Union Carbide become one of the world’s largest producers of ethane-derived chemicals, and a leading manufacturer of polyethylene. Aither, also a West Virginia company, was formed in 2010 by accomplished former Union Carbide and Dow technologists and business leaders.

Aither’s mission is to convert ethane to high-value chemicals. Its technology uses a patent-pending catalytic-cracking method instead of steam cracking to make ethylene. The company will then convert the ethylene to higher-value chemicals that are easier to ship to customers locally and worldwide. HP

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