BASF, Total revamp steam cracker in Texas, US

BASF, Total revamp steam cracker in Texas, US

5:15 AM, 25th May 2013
BASF, Total revamp steam cracker in Texas, US
Patrick Pouyanne, President, Refining & Chemicals, Total.

PARIS, FRANCE: To capitalize on the shale gas revolution in the United States, the BASF TOTAL Petrochemicals LLC (BTP) joint venture (Total 40 per cent, BASF 60 per cent) revamped the Port Arthur steam cracker in Texas to process ethane, found in abundance in US shale gas. In addition to this project, BTP has also begun building a tenth ethane cracking furnace, scheduled to come on stream in the second quarter of 2014. The new furnace will improve the steam cracker’s availability and increase its cracking capacity by nearly 15 per cent, making it even more efficient.

“Our strategy in the US consists of consolidating our production base by taking advantage of market trends. The Port Arthur steam cracker is one of the biggest in the world, with a capacity of 1 million tonne of ethylene per year. In response to petroleum product price hike and the emergence of abundant gas resources, we adapted the steam cracker to give it flexibility and maintain its competitiveness. It can now use as a feedstock ethane, which costs around $30 per barrel of oil equivalent (boe) - versus around $100/boe for naphtha,” said Patrick Pouyanne, President, Refining & Chemicals, Total.

“In light of the impact of the shale gas revolution on the global petrochemical industry, Total is also examining a project to build a new ethane steam cracker that would be tied to the original Port Arthur steam cracker to capture maximum synergies while leveraging this cost-advantaged feedstock,” added Pouyanne.

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