LyondellBasell plans new chemical plant for Texas Gulf Coast

Capitalizing on abundant supplies of cheap natural gas liquids unlocked in the U.S. shale boom, LyondellBasell plans to build a chemical plant on the Texas Gulf Coast, the company announced Monday.

With the capacity to produce 900 million pounds of propylene oxide and 2 billion pounds of tertiary butyl alcohol each year, the plant will be the largest of its kind for the Houston-based plastics, chemicals and refining giant, spokesman George Smalley said. The company operates several such plants in the Houston area.

LyondellBasell did not disclose how much the plant will cost, but projects of similar size cost more than $1 billion, Smalley said. At its peak, the project could generate 1,200 construction jobs, the company said.

A specific location has not be finalized for the plant, which is slated to be running in 2019.

The LyondellBasell plant is the latest planned for the Gulf Coast, which has seen a rapid expansion of new petrochemical refining projects as companies look to take advantage of the cheap natural gas feedstock to produce manufacturing chemicals for a global market.

Describing its new plant as “world-scale”, LyondellBasell said it plans to sell its propylene oxide worldwide to meet a growing demand for building block chemicals used in thousands of products, from antifreeze to cosmetics.

Propylene oxide is primarily used in the manufacturing of bedding, furniture, carpets and car seats. Tertiary butyl alcohol and its derivatives boost octane in gasoline and are used to make synthetic rubber and lubricant additives.