$6 billion petrochemical plant construction completed in Houston area

Fuel Fix:
Chevron Phillips Chemical said it completed construction of its $6 billion petrochemical expansion in the Houston area, although it's not expected to be fully up and running until springtime.

The Woodlands-based petrochemical company said it wrapped up heavy construction of the massive ethane cracker - the crown jewel of the expansion - at its Cedar Bayou complex in Baytown. The project was originally supposed to be be completed months ago but has faced delays, including flooding during Hurricane Harvey.

"With the mechanical completion of Cedar Bayou's ethane cracker, we are now on the cusp of completing the most transformative project in our company's history, our U.S. Gulf Coast petrochemical project," said Mark Lashier, president and chief executive officer of Chevron Phillips Chemical.

The ethane cracker - on a plot the size of 44 football fields - will separate a component of natural gas called ethane, which will provide the feedstock for some 1.5 million metric tons a year of ethylene, a common building block of plastics.

Chevron Phillips Chemical, a joint venture of Chevron and Phillips 66 of Houston, in September finished building its two new polyethylene plastics units southwest of Houston in Old Ocean by Phillips 66's Sweeny complex. The Old Ocean plant will take that ethylene produced in Baytown and turn it into plastic resin that's shipped both domestically and internationally.

The project is one of the biggest investments in the continuation of the petrochemical boom primarily along the Gulf Coast to take advantage of cheap and ample ethane derived from natural gas through the ongoing shale revolution.
 This is a significant by-product of the shale gas revolution that has revived the domestic petrochemical business.  It is an important long-term business operation because there are no alternative energy options for this business which is vital to other manufacturing products from transportation to toy and household goods.


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