LyondellBasell pushes completion and commissioning of US PO/TBA project to Q1 2023

Latest: LyondellBasell said recently that it has pushed back the completion and commissioning of its propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butanol (TBA) projects to the end of the first quarter of 2023 .

The company had expected to complete the project in December 2022.

Torkel Rhenman, LyondellBasell’s executive vice president for intermediates, derivatives and refining, said the project was nearing completion.

The project has two parts. The PO/TBA plant, located in Channelview, Texas, will produce 2.2 billion lb/yr (1 million t/y) of TBA and 1 billion lb/yr (470,000 t/y) of PO.

The project also includes an ethers unit that LyondellBasell is building at the Bayport complex in Texas. The unit can produce ethyl tert-butyl ether (ETBE), a high-octane gasoline component made from ethanol and isobutane.

LyondellBasell has completed construction of the ethers unit and it has started commissioning the plant, Torkel Rhenman said.

Commissioning of the PO/TBA plant will begin in the fourth quarter of 2022, he added.

The complex will be completed and commissioned in the first quarter of 2023.

The increase will not double production, he said.

For the first full year of operation, LyondellBasell expects to produce 50% of the plant’s annualized capacity.

PO is used to make polyols for polyurethanes.

For ETBE, LyondellBasell expects to have a cost advantage in obtaining isobutane, as U.S. shale reserves produce large quantities of isobutane. Because ETBE is made from ethanol, refiners outside the U.S. can use it to meet their government’s renewable fuel and carbon emissions requirements. ETBE has no ethanol blending restrictions, so refiners are free to add ethanol to meet their fuel specifications. Because of this flexibility, most countries rely on ethanol and
A blend of ETBE to meet government requirements.