LyondellBasell completes 9 lakh tonne expansion at US ethylene complex

Petrochemicals giant LyondellBasell on Thursday announced the completion of its 3.6 million tonnes per year (800 million pounds-per-year) ethylene expansion project at the company's Corpus Christi, Texas, site.

The project increases ethylene capacity at the facility by 50 per cent, from 7.7 lakh tonnes (1.7 billion pounds-per-year) to 1.3 million tonnes per year (2.5 billion pounds per year), and completes the company's multi-year plan to increase annual ethylene capacity in the US by 9.1 lakh tonnes (2 billion pounds.

"As we look to meet growing, global demand for our products, we continue to seek the right opportunities that ensure we are well positioned for the longer term," said Bob Patel, LyondellBasell CEO and chairman of the management board.

"By expanding ethylene capacity in the US through debottlenecks rather than long and costly greenfield developments, we quickly added substantial capacity for significantly less than the cost of a new plant," he added.

Completion of the Corpus Christi expansion is another milestone in the company's organic profit-generating growth strategy.

Since 2012, LyondellBasell has invested approximately $2 billion in US Gulf Coast expansion projects and plans to invest an additional $3 billion in the region. In September, the company announced the construction of a high density polyethylene plant (HDPE) in La Porte that will be the first to utilise LyondellBasell's new proprietary Hyperzone PE technology.

HDPE is one of the most versatile plastics because it is lightweight, yet very strong; impact resistant; weather resistant; it can be molded into almost any shape and is widely recyclable. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2017 with start-up planned for 2019. Additionally, development of a world scale propylene oxide and tertiary butyl alcohol (PO/TBA) plant at the company's Channelview site is progressing.

Ethylene is a basic chemical building block used in consumer products such as housewares, construction materials, automotive parts, food packaging and personal care products. Global demand for ethylene has consistently grown at a 4 per cent annual rate, according to IHS Markit.