WV Cracker Project Similar to Ethylene XXI Project in Mexico

by Duane Nichols on March 25, 2014

Braskem's Ethylene XXI Project (Mexico)

Braskem WV project may match Ethylene XXI in Mexico

From the Article by Joseph Chang, ICIS News, March 20, 2014

SAO PAULO, Brazil (ICIS)–The planned Ascent project in West Virginia, to be built by Brazil’s industrial conglomerate Odebrecht and operated by Braskem – could be on the scale of the Ethylene XXI project in Mexico, according to the chief executive of Braskem.

“The Ethylene XXI project in Mexico could be a good indicator of the scale of Ascent,” said Carlos Fadigas, CEO of Braskem, in an interview with ICIS at Braskem headquarters. “Ascent will be focused on PE [polyethylene] and we want flexibility of production grades,” he added.

Mexico’s Ethylene XXI project, 75:25 joint venture between Braskem and Grupo Idesa, involves a 1.05m tonne/year cracker, two high density PE (HDPE) plants with capacities of 350,000 tonnes/year and 400,000 tonnes/year, as well as one 300,000 tonne/year low density PE (LDPE) plant.

The Ethylene XXI project is 60-62% complete and scheduled to start up in the third quarter of 2015, Fadigas said. [It is a $4.2 billion project, according to Plastics News.]

The Ascent (Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise) project is part of Braskem’s strategy to use more gas-based feedstocks and extend its PE reach to the US. The company currently has five polypropylene (PP) plants in the US but no PE production.

All Braskem’s PE production of around 3m tonnes/year is in Brazil. “We have a PP plant in West Virginia, and a technical center in Pittsburgh. We have seen the development of shale gas all around us in Pennsylvania and want to take part,” said Fadigas.

Braskem has a “creative agreement” with Odebrecht, which is a major shareholder in Braskem, said the CEO. “Odebrecht will carry the asset and debt, but we want the petrochemical risk – the profit associated with the asset,” Fadigas said.

The arrangement is similar to Braskem’s deal with US midstream company Enterprise Products, which is building a 750,000 tonne/year propane dehydrogenation plant (PDH) plant in Texas by 2015, he noted.

“There we will be buying the propylene at producer economics. Enterprise wants to make sure its investment has a fixed income profile. They will transfer all the petrochemical risk to us,” said Fadigas.

Braskem will buy around half the propylene output of the PDH plant, which will supply about half the demand from its three PP plants in Texas, he added.

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WCHS News (3/26/14) March 26, 2014 at 5:56 pm

WV Gas Will Be Used At Wood County Cracker

West Virginia natural gas will be used at the proposed cracker plant in Wood County. Antero Resources made the announcement today, March 26th. The company has signed an agreement to become an ethane supplier for the Ascent petrochemical complex in Washington, West Virginia. Antero intends to provide 30,000 barrels of ethane per day to the project headed up by Odebrecht and Braskem.

“[Antero will provide] at least 40 percent of the ethane they will be using in West Virginia at this plant.”

The cracker plant is still technically in the “proposed” phase. However, back in January Odebrecht purchased the property near Parkersburg, on the Ohio River. “Possibly by the first quarter of next year we could start to see construction.”

Antero resources is based out of Denver, Colorado but has a field office located in Bridgeport. All its operations are in the Appalachian Basin and the company operates 15 drilling rigs in West Virginia. The company currently employs 264 workers.

The ethane is recovered from “wet” natural gas. It is then cracked by heating to a high temperature to form ethylene, then polymerized to manufacture polyethylene, which is used in making plastics.


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