Petrochemical giant LyondellBasell is planning to build the world’s largest propylene oxide and tertiary butyl alcohol plant in the Houston area, the company’s Indian-American CEO has said. The Houston petrochemical company has made the final investment decision for what would be its single-largest capital investment ever. The USD 2.4 billion project near the ship channel will be the largest factory of its kind in the world and is expected to create up to 2,500 jobs at the peak of construction and about 160 permanent jobs once the plant is operational. “This world-scale project is a key part of our organic growth strategy which is designed to meet rising global demand for both urethanes and cleaner-burning oxyfuels while creating real, long-term value for our shareholders,” said Bhavesh (Bob) V Patel, the company’s Indian-American CEO.
“Our investment in this plant combines the best of both worlds: our leading PO/TBA process technology with proximity to low-cost feedstocks, which gives LyondellBasell a competitive advantage in the global marketplace for these products,” Patel said in a statement. The project whose construction is expected to begin during the second half of 2018 and wrap up by the middle of 2021 is part of the company’s USD 5 billion investing in the US Gulf Coast. The final investment decision comes less than two years after the company picked the Houston area as the location for the proposed plant. Earlier this year, the company began the construction of a USD 700 million polyethylene plant at its manufacturing complex in La Porte.
“We are pleased that LyondellBasell continues to view the Houston area as important to their global operations, creating jobs and opportunities for Houstonians,” said Bob Harvey, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership. “This new project further advances Houston’s position as a global hub of petrochemical manufacturing, leveraging Houston’s strategic access to the Americas and top markets around the world,” Harvey said.
The Netherlands-based LyondellBasell has its operational headquarters in Houston. The main plant is expected to produce about 1 billion pounds of propylene oxide (PO) and 2.2 billion pounds of tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) each year.
PO is used to make bedding, furniture, carpeting, coatings, building materials and adhesives. TBA, after being converted into two ether-based oxyfuels, will help gasoline burn cleaner. The PO and derivative products will be sold to domestic and global customers, while the oxyfuels mainly will go to Latin America and Asia, with a portion remaining in the US to be used in tires and lubricants.