Chevron Phillips approves new Texas cracker, awards EPC contracts

Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem) said Thursday that it received board approval to execute its planned US Gulf Coast (USGC) petrochemicals project, first announced in March 2011.

Additionally, CPChem awarded an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to a joint venture between JGC and Fluor for the 1.5 million tpy (3.3 billion lb/year) ethane cracker portion of the project.

Meanwhile, the company also awarded an EPC contract to Gulf Coast Partners, a partnership between Technip and Zachry Industrial, to execute the two new polyethylene facilities, each with a capacity of 500,000 tpy (1.1 billion lb/year).

“We remain in the first mover position as we take another critical step in executing a project that will benefit our customers, suppliers, local communities and existing and future employees,” said Pete Cella, CEO of Chevron Phillips Chemical.

“We are able to realize this important milestone thanks to continued strong growth in demand for our products, shale resource development in the US, and the tremendous support of our owners,” he added.

The world-scale polyethylene units will be capable of producing a wide variety of high and linear-low-density polyethylene products, including bimodal and metallocene-based polyethylene polymers.

These facilities will incorporate Chevron Phillips Chemical’s metallocene technology and proprietary Advanced Dual Loop bimodal technology.

In addition to the bimodal and linear-low-density products, the flexibility of these units will allow for growth of current blow molding, injection molding and film grades offered by Chevron Phillips Chemical, according to the company.

Sold under the long-established brand names of Marlex resins for rigid packaging and extrusion applications and Marflex resins for film and extrusion coating applications, the new production facilities will be complemented by an expansion of Chevron Phillips Chemical’s technical services capability, offering sustainable solutions in a wide variety of applications ranging from flexible packaging to high performance pressure pipe.

The ethane cracker will be built at Chevron Phillips Chemical’s Cedar Bayou plant in Baytown, Texas. The two polyethylene units will be built at a site in Old Ocean, Texas, near the company’s existing Sweeny plant.

Project works are expected to commence with construction in early 2014, creating 400 long-term direct jobs and 10,000 engineering and construction jobs.

Chevron Phillips noted that site preparation is in progress, critical equipment for the project has been ordered and expansion of the supporting infrastructure has commenced. Additionally, the company has executed a contract for the fabrication of rail cars needed to supply product to customers.

“Overall, this project aligns perfectly with Chevron Phillips Chemical’s strategy of profitable growth, competitive advantage, operational excellence and organizational capability, and we look forward to a successful and safe startup in 2017,” said Cella.

In August 2013, CPChem announced that it had received Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) greenhouse gas permit for the cracker and the required Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) air permits necessary to begin construction of both facilities.

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