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LyondellBasell Hyperzone PE plant progressing

Published by , Senior Editor
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The La Porte Complex of LyondellBasell has announced that key pieces of equipment, including a multi-zone circulating reactor, extruder and gas phase reactor have all been successfully installed at its new Hyperzone polyethylene (PE) plant, which is currently under construction.

“We are about 18 months into construction and our team has safely achieved several key milestones,” said Chris Cain, LyondellBasell La Porte site manager. “It has been phenomenal watching the progress of this project that is unlike any other in our company and speaks to the talent, capability and innovation of our employees.”

Among the key equipment installed since the start of construction in May 2017 are two reactors, the heaviest of which is a gas phase reactor weighing more than 500 t. The second reactor, a 200 ft tall multi-zone circulating reactor, is exclusively designed for the Hyperzone PE technology. Teams have also safely installed a 146 ft tall flushing silo for ensuring polymer particles are dry prior to extruding them into pellets and laid nearly 19 miles of pipe and 38 miles of wire/cable.

As modelled by Impact Data Source, the US$725 million project will have a capacity of 1.1 billion lbs/yr of high density polyethylene and is expected to generate more than US$67 million in tax benefits for the state, county, school district, community college and other local taxing districts over a 10-year period following construction. The project will also create up to more than 1000 jobs at the peak of construction and 75 permanent positions.

“The Hyperzone PE plant is bringing growth and jobs to our area,” said La Porte Mayor Louis Rigby. “Strong corporate partners like LyondellBasell who continually invest in our city are key to improving opportunities and quality of life for our residents.”

LyondellBasell chose to build the new plant at its existing La Porte Complex because of its proximity to price-advantaged US feedstocks and the transportation infrastructure needed to ship product to markets across the globe.

In the past six years, the company has announced US$5 billion of investments to expand and build new manufacturing facilities in the US, including the construction of Hyperzone PE and the world’s largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant, co-located at its Channelview and Bayport facilities.

Hyperzone PE is the first commercial plant of its kind and the next evolution in polyethylene technology for the plastics industry. The technology, which provides enhanced material performance that will help create lighter weight products that are still stronger and more durable, took years to advance to commercialisation and was a product of LyondellBasell’s global research and development teams in Ferrara, Italy; Frankfurt, Germany; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Houston, Texas.

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