LyondellBasell expects USGC olefins, polymers units up in next few weeks

Houston (Platts)--13 Sep 2017 737 pm EDT/2337 GMT

LyondellBasell expects its Texas olefins and polymers operations to be back to normal by the end of September or early October after various shutdowns last month related to Hurricane Harvey, the company said Wednesday.

"LyondellBasell's Gulf Coast plants are in various stages of restart or ramp-up," company spokeswoman Chevalier Gray said.

The company did not specify operating rates or production levels at individual units, including sites in Corpus Christi, Victoria, Matagorda and along the Houston Ship Channel where olefins and polymers are made.

In a previous regulatory filing, the company said it had initiated "planned startup activities" for its 772,727 mt/year cracker at its complex in Corpus Christi, Texas. The filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality indicated flaring could last from last Friday to October 1. Gray also previously said the Channelview complex along the Houston Ship Channel, which has 1.75 million mt/year of ethylene capacity, ran at reduced rates during the storm.

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Global Polyolefins Outlook

The US shale gas revolution and new Coal-to-Olefins/Methanol-to-Olefins (CTO/MTO) developments in China are rapidly changing the supply equation for polyethylene and polypropylene, with direct implications for global trade flows between key production and consumption regions.

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The La Porte complex closer to the mouth of the ship channel has a 790,909 mt/year cracker. The Matagorda and Victoria facilities make high-density polyethylene.

Among other plants affected by Harvey, Braskem's 227,000 mt/year polypropylene facility in Seadrift, Texas, remained on "hot standby," ready to restart upon restoration of area utilities and other services, a spokeswoman said in an email on Wednesday.

Braskem restarted its 336,000 mt/year PP plant in Freeport, Texas, early last week, but the Seadrift plant was essentially idling, with systems on, waiting to resume production. Seadrift is about 50 miles northeast of where Harvey came ashore on August 25 as a Category 4 hurricane.

--Chris Ferrell,

--Kristen Hays,

--Edited by Annie Siebert,

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