Total is entering a partnership with Borealis and Nova to form a joint venture with the aim of building a US$1.7 billion ethane steam cracker and a new Borstar polyethylene unit on the US Gulf Coast.
The $1.7 billion new Mt/y ethane steam cracker will be built in Port Arthur and is scheduled to start up in 2020 and will create around 1,500 jobs during peak engineering and construction activity. The engineering, procurement and construction contract (EPC) of the ethane steam cracker has been awarded by Total to CB&I.
Total is expected to hold a 50 per cent interest in the new joint venture.
“After significant investments in US LNG and US shale gas in 2016, this almost two billion dollar investment signals our determination to strengthen our presence in the United States, where we have operated for 60 years and have more than 6,000 employees” explained Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of Total. “We want to take advantage of the business-friendly environment to contribute to making American petrochemicals even greater. By joining forces with Borealis and Nova, we aim to create a major player in the US polyethylene market”.
The new cracker will be built alongside Total’s Port Arthur refinery and Total/BASF existing steam cracker. The JV will also see the building of a new 625 kt/y Borstar polyethylene plant on the Bayport site, Texas.
The abundance of available gas in the United States as result of the shale revolution provides two competitive advantages for petrochemicals: access to low-cost energy to run the facilities and competitively priced ethane feedstock.