The shale gas boom in the US is prompting global petrochemical majors to rush to the country for setting manufacturing units. The latest to join the list is LyondellBasell, which has announced its plans to build a state-of-the-art PO/TBA plant on the US Gulf Coast with an annual capacity of 900 million pounds of propylene oxide (PO) and 2 billion pounds of tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) and its derivatives. The preliminary timetable is to have the plant operational in 2019. The project is expected to generate up to 1,200 construction jobs at its peak.
The plant is expected to sell propylene oxide in the global marketplace to meet growing demand for polyurethanes, which are used primarily for the manufacture of bedding, furniture, carpets and car seats. Tertiary butyl alcohol and its derivatives will be sold to meet the need for high octane gasoline blending components as well as for use in manufacturing synthetic rubber and lubricant additives.
“While we have not finalised the exact location of the plant, the abundant natural gas liquids associated with shale gas make the US Gulf Coast an advantaged feedstock region. This project combines our leading proprietary PO/TBA technology with low cost feedstock and demonstrates our continued commitment to capturing maximum advantage of market opportunities,” said Pat Quarles, Senior Vice President of Intermediates and Derivatives, LyondellBasell.