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Occidental Petroleum plans new ethylene cracker at Ingleside – Texas

Oxy to join Chevron, Dow, Exxon and Shell US projects

2B1st_Project_Smart_Explorer_Sales_Pursuit_ToolOn December 2012, Occidental Chemical Corporation (OxyChem) submitted a permit application to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the construction of a new ethylene cracker at Ingleside in Texas, USA.

Based in  Los Angeles in California, USA, Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Oxy) is the largest crude oil producer onshore USA.

In parallel, its subsidiary OxyChem is the world largest producer of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM)

At the favor of the glut of ethane feedstock provided by the shale gas development, Oxy is considering to increase its market leadership on its downstream activities.

Oxychem_Ethylene_Cracker_project_Ingleside_TexasBeside the VCM production, OxyChem is a major producer of chlorine and caustic soda for the plastic industry: water treatment chemicals and pharmaceuticals building blocks.

In this initiative, OxyChem is joining the series of ethylene cracker projects announced these last months by ChevronPhillips, Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil to be located in the same area, around the Gulf of Mexico and Shell Appalachia project, also in USA.

OxyChem application follows the  Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in August 2012 with Mexichem to supply VCM.

The VCM is used as primary feedstock to produce PolyVinyl Chloride (PVC) to produce packaging, pipes, coatings, wire insulation, anti-freeze and hundreds of other domestic and industrial applications.

Mexichem is planning to boost its production of PVC by 50% on the next four years, so it needs to secure its sourcing for the VCM.

OxyChem_VCM_PVCAccording to this MOU, OxyChem and Mexichem would create a 50/50 joint venture to build a new ethylene cracker in Ingleside, close to Corpus Christi, at actual OxyChem facilities.

In line with the application submitted to the EPA, this new ethylene cracker should have a capacity of 544,000 t/y (1.2 billion pound per year).

This new ethylene cracker project should also include a new fractionation plant for the production of ethane from the market supply of natural gas liquids (NGL)

CB&I to complete OxyChem cracker FEED work in 2013

This NGL fractionation plant should then supply the ethane by pipeline to the cracker to be installed along the existing OxyChem VCM plant.

Oxychem_Mexichem_Ingleside_Texas_Ethylene_cracker_ProjectThis ethane feed will be combined with the recycled ethane from the ethylene fractionator and super heated before reaching the cracking furnaces.

These furnaces will be use the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology to control the NOx emissions.

Then the ethylene produced from the cracker shall be carried out by pipeline to the VCM plant or exported to other markets such as Mexichem.

In October 2012, OxyChem selected CB&I in Houston to provide the:

 – Ethylene technology license

 – Feasibility study

 – Front end engineering and design (FEED) services

CB&I contract includes also the basic engineering and licenses inheritated from Lummus technology for five short residence time (SRT) cracking heaters.

As a by-product of the ethylene, OxyChem ethane cracker will produce pyrolysis gasoline.

This hydrocarbon product will be sold and exported by trucks to refineries for gasoline blending.

Downstream the ethylene, the propylene refrigeration process will use a steam turbine driven centrifugal compressor.

Then the caustic resulting from the various chemical oxydations shall be collected through the waste water treatment unit.

The project will also include an additional flare system.

Estimated to require $1 billion capital expenditure, OxyChem expects CB&I to complete the FEED work in 2013 in order to prepare engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts for 2014 with commercial production due to start on first quarter 2017.

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