OxyChem, Mexichem target early 2017 for startup of new Texas cracker

Occidental Chemical (OxyChem) and Mexichem are targeting February 2017 for possible startup of a proposed new ethane cracker at an existing Occidental site near Ingleside, Texas.

OxyChem disclosed the timetable in a recent air permit application to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Previous reports had the cracker starting up operations in 2016.

In August 2012, OxyChem signed a memorandum of understanding with Mexico’s Mexichem to evaluate a joint venture for the cracker. It is anticipated to have a capacity of approximately 1.2 billion lb/year of ethylene, or just above 500,000 tpy.

The companies awarded contracts to CB&I  for the technology license, basic engineering and front-end engineering and design (FEED) services.

The scope of work for CB&I includes the basic engineering for the ethylene technology and five SRT (short residence time) cracking heaters from CB&I's Lummus Technology business unit.

The cracker will receive ethane feedstock from a pipeline or from a planned natural gas liquids (NGL) fractionation plant to be built on an adjacent property, OxyChem said in its application.

Most of the ethylene would be used by OxyChem at its Ingleside plant to produce 1 million tpy of vinyl chloride (VCM), which it then would sell to Mexichem under a long-term supply contract.

Mexichem would then use the VCM as a raw material to produce polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in Mexico.

The feasibility study on the new cracker is expected to be completed in the 2013 second quarter.

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