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North America

10.01.2012  |  Meche, Helen,  Hydrocarbon Processing Staff, Houston, TX

Keywords: [construction] [methanol] [gas processing] [butadiene] [petrochemicals] [adiponitrile] [LNG] [refining] [crude oil]

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has a contract from Methanex Corp. to provide engineering, procurement and construction services for a methanol production facility in Louisiana. Officials estimate the construction value to be $550 million.

Jacobs is already executing site-specific engineering and construction management for the 225-acre location in Geismar, Louisiana, from its offices in Baton Rouge, with support for the disassembly from its Santiago, Chile, office. The plant is expected to be operational in the second half of 2014.

KBR has a general works contract for phase-two construction at a raw gas-processing and compression facility near Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada. KBR’s Canadian subsidiary, KBR Wabi, will execute construction and related site support for the facility’s expansion, increasing the existing capacity to 100 million scfd. The award follows KBR’s recent work—delivering pipe-rack fabrication and module assembly for phase one of the Dawson Creek plant.

A joint-development agreement, focusing on bio-based butadiene, has been signed by INVISTA and LanzaTech to develop one-step and two-step technologies for converting industrial waste-gas carbon-monoxide (CO) into butadiene. Initial commercialization is expected in 2016.

Initially, the focus will be on producing butadiene in a two-step process from LanzaTech CO-derived 2,3-butanediol (2,3 BDO). A direct single-step process will also be developed to produce butadiene directly through a gas-fermentation process.

INVISTA and LanzaTech will also jointly collaborate on developing tools that will extend this technology—once developed—to directly produce other industrial chemicals. These include nylon intermediates, from CO containing waste gases, using LanzaTech’s gas-fermentation technology and proprietary biochemical platform. INVISTA is building internal biotechnical capability to develop biological routes to its products and feedstocks.

Praxair, Inc., has broken ground on its new air-separation unit in Memphis, Tennessee. With a capacity of 600 tpd, the new plant is scheduled to start up in the second quarter of 2013.

INVISTA has selected its production facility in Orange, Texas, as the initial location to install its next-generation adiponitrile (ADN) technology. ADN is a critical intermediate chemical used in the manufacture of nylon 6,6.

The project to convert the Orange site to the new technology is well underway, and INVISTA is expected to invest more than $100 million at the facility in the next 18 months.

The technology, a new butadiene-based chemistry, is said to improve product yields and ease of operations, while requiring a lower annual-maintenance investment compared to existing technology. Evidenced through operation of a pilot-scale facility, also located in Orange, the technology also delivers significant air emission and waste reductions. The company hopes to be in full production by mid-2014.

Cheniere Energy Partners, L.P. has completed all milestones and has issued Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals, Inc., with a full notice to proceed on construction of the Sabine Pass Liquefaction Project’s first two liquefaction trains. The first liquefaction train is expected to start operations as early as 2015. The second liquefaction train is expected to commence operations six to nine months after the first train’s startup.

Flint Hills Resources is considering spending more than $250 million to enable its West refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, to process more Eagle Ford crude oil, while extending its ability to reduce criteria air emissions. The company operates two Corpus Christi refineries: the West refinery, with a capacity of about 230,000 bpd, and the East refinery, with a capacity of about 70,000 bpd.

Flint Hills Resources expects to submit the permit applications to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the US Environmental Protection Agency in the coming weeks. HP

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