Total, Borealis and Nova Chemicals make final investment decision for US project

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Photo by Tota SA The new unit, based on Borealis' Borstar technology, will more than double the site's polyethylene capacity to 1.1 million tonnes a year

Total SA, Borealis AG and Nova Chemicals Inc have announced their final investment decision to build a 625 kilotonne per annum (ktpa) polyethyelene (PE) unit in Bayport, Texas. 

The facility will be built by Bayport Polymers LLC, a joint venture business 50% owned by Total and 50% owned by Novealis Holdings LLC, a JV between Borealis and Nova Chemicals. The project also comprises Total’s existing 400 ktpa polyethylene facility in Bayport. 

The new unit, based on Borealis’ Borstar technology, will more than double the site’s polyethylene capacity to 1.1 million tonnes a year with a start-up scheduled in 2021. The contract for the engineering, procurement and construction of the new unit has been awarded to McDermott and is expected to employ 1,750 staff during peak activity. 

Formed in May 2018, Bayport Polymers is currently building a one-million-tonne per year steam cracker in Port Arthur, Texas. This cracker will process ethane and will supply Bayport polyethylene units. 

“The power of this partnership between Total, Borealis and Nova Chemicals will enable us to become one of the largest players in the North American polyethylene market,” said Bayport Polymers president Diane Chamberlain. 

According to Chamberlain, the Borstar multi-modal technology for PE manufacturing will be used for the first time in North America. 

The project is in line with Total’s strategy to develop petrochemicals at its major integrated complexes and leverage competitively priced feedstocks, according to Bernard Pinatel, president refining & chemicals of Total. 

“It’s another step to strengthen our position in the US, where we have more than 5,000 employees and where we operate one of our 6 world largest integrated platforms in Port Arthur, Texas,” Pinatel added.

Also commenting on the development, Borealis CEO Alfred Stern said the final investment decision was “a major milestone” in the partnership, and “a significant step” in the global market presence of Borstar technology.

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