US Capacity Expansions: Total, Borealis and Nova firm up petrochemicals jv; Oxo starts up propanol plant


French oil/gas company Total, Austrian polyolefins maker Borealis and Canada-based Nova Chemicals Inc. have obtained approval for a joint venture in petrochemicals on the US Gulf Coast, after meeting all required regulatory approvals. The company named Bayport Polymers is 50% owned by Total and 50% owned by Novealis Holdings, a joint venture between Borealis and Nova.

The Bay-Pol joint venture includes:

  • the under-construction 1million tonnes/year ethane steam cracker in Port Arthur, Texas

  • Total’s existing polyethylene 400 kilotonnes/year facility in Bayport, Texas

  • a new 625 kilotonnes/year Borstar polyethylene unit at Total’s Bayport, Texas, site, subject to FID

The partnership between Total, Borealis and Nova Chemicals will create a major player in the US PE market, say the partners, adding that they will take advantage of low-cost feedstocks in the US.


In other news, German oxo intermediates/derivatives maker Oxea’s new world-scale propanol production unit at its Bay City site in Texas, US, is mechanically complete. The new facility, Propanol 2, is now being commissioned and is scheduled for commercial production in the third quarter of 2018. With a nameplate capacity of 100,000 tonnes/year of n‑propanol, Propanol 2 is currently one of Oxea’s largest investment projects. Utilising Oxea’s advanced proprietary process technology and its comprehensive process know-how, process stability in the new unit will be improved, achieving an even higher product quality, it says. Furthermore, Propanol 2 will produce less undesirable byproducts due to optimized and more efficient production.

“Propanol 2 has been constructed in line with our long-term selective growth strategy driven by our CEO, Dr Salim Al Huthaili, and will be a game changer to the markets. With our new additional capacity, Oxea can expand further into existing and future growth markets. Propanol 2 is also a token of our confidence in the competitiveness of the US petrochemical industry and underlines the importance of our Bay City production site,” explained Naoko Roth, Oxea’s Marketing Director US Oxo Intermediates.


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