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Chexpress - October 22, 2013

North America

Ammonia plant

BASF SE and Yara International ASA are considering a big ammonia plant on the U.S. Gulf Coast. While company officials have said everything is still under discussion, a current BASF factory would be the most likely site. BASF has plants in Beaumont, Pasadena and Port Arthur, Texas and in Geismar, Louisiana.  

Gas project revamp

Imperial Oil Ltd. is looking at a major revamp of its Mackenzie gas project that would see the stalled northern venture reborn as part of an expansive liquefied natural gas (LNG) development. A shift to LNG is under consideration as the Mackenzie pipeline’s economics remain weak due to cheap shale gas across the continent.

Ethane cracker

Technip was awarded a contract by Sasol to supply its proprietary ethylene technology and front-end engineering design (FEED) for a grassroots ethane cracker. The cracker will be located at Sasol’s Lake Charles, Louisiana site. It is estimated to produce 1.5 million tons/year of ethylene.


Dow Chemical Co. will sell its polypropylene licensing and catalysts business to W.R. Grace & Co. for $500 million. This sale is part of Dow Chemical’s strategy to shed its non-core businesses. The polypropylene licensing and catalysts business provides technology and catalysts to make polypropylene, which is used to manufacture plastics and synthetic fabrics. As part of the deal, W.R. Grace will acquire Dow Chemical’s catalysts manufacturing plant in Norco, Louisiana and customer contracts, licenses, intellectual property and inventory. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year, pending regulatory approvals.



VCM plant

Fluor Corporation’s ICA Fluor industrial engineering-construction joint venture with Empresas ICA, S.A.B. de C.V., signed a contract with Petroquimica Mexicana de Vinilo, a joint venture between Mexichem and Pemex, for the revamp of the vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) plant at the Pajaritos petrochemical complex near Veracruz, Mexico. ICA Fluor will be responsible for the engineering, procurement, construction, maintenance and commissioning services to bring the VCM facility to its capacity of 405,000 tons/year from its current nearly 200,000 tons/year. The project is planned to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Butadiene plant

MOL’s petrochemicals unit TVK will build a new butadiene plant in Tiszaujvaros, Hungary. The planned investment is $106.4 million. The new plant will have an annual capacity of 130,000 tons and will be opened in the second quarter of 2015.

Aromatics plant

A subsidiary of Foster Wheeler AG’s Global Engineering and Construction Group has been awarded a contract by Petrochemical Industries Company for a pre-feasibility study and a market report for a proposed aromatics plant in Kuwait. The study is scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2013.


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