CPChem to add ethylene furnace at Texas complex

Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem) will expand its ethylene production by 200 million pounds by adding a tenth furnace to ethylene unit 33 at its Sweeny complex in Old Ocean, Texas, the company said on Monday.

The company noted that it recently received consent to begin construction from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

The new furnace will achieve lower emissions and incorporate Best Available Control Technology (BACT). Construction is targeted to commence within the next quarter, with an anticipated startup in 2014.

“This furnace addition will provide additional ethylene supply to meet the growing global demand to better serve our customers and provide additional supply prior to starting up our proposed US Gulf Coast Petrochemicals Project in 2017,” said Dave Smith, olefins and natural gas liquids vice president at CPChem.

Chevron Phillips Chemical said that project, in which it plans to build an ethane cracker at its Cedar Bayou plant in Baytown, Texas, and two polyethylene units in Old Ocean, continues to be on track.

While the additional furnace will not add to the nameplate capacity of the Sweeny facility, the increased operating factor should result in net increase of 200 million pounds of ethylene availability to provide additional operational flexibility and reliability.

The Sweeny complex is one of the world’s largest single-site ethylene facilities and is capable of producing greater than 11 million pounds of ethylene per day, or roughly 4.1 billion pounds each year.

“This project and the proposed addition of the adjacent polyethylene units emphasize the importance of Sweeny in the company’s portfolio,” said Wayne McDowell, Sweeny complex manager. “We are thrilled to produce quality products safely and reliably on an even larger scale.”

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