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LyondellBasell to build new PE unit in La Porte, delays Channelview ethylene expansion

HOUSTON, July 29, 2016 (PCW) –- LyondellBasell on Friday said it had made a final investment decision to build a new 1.1 billion lbs/yr polyethylene unit in La Porte with an expected start-up in mid-2019.

CEO Bob Patel also said the company would be indefinitely delaying the 550 million lbs/yr ethylene expansion at its Channelview plant that was originally scheduled to come online next year.

The reason for the delay was not for economic reasons, Patel said. “It is a matter of priority,” Patel added. “We have a certain number of resources and we want to focus and execute well.”

“We want the team over there focusing on the [propylene oxide/ tertiary butyl alcohol] plant. Our near-term priorities are to build out the derivatives portfolio,” Patel said.

The company is building a PO/TBA plant in Channelview with a production capacity of 1 billion lb/yr of PO and 2 billion lb/yr of TBA.

Patel said an FID for that project is expected in the first half of next year, although he was hopeful the company would move forward with it.

“But when we do the turnaround [at Channelview] in 2018/2019, we plan to put in tie-ins to implement that [ethylene] debottleneck,” Patel said.

Asked about the delayed start-up of its expanded Corpus Christi cracker, which is now expected to come back online at the end of September, rather than the original mid-August start-up, Patel said the delay was due to inclement weather, which had prevented teams from reaching the site. -- Samantha Hartke

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