Total awards FEED contract to CB&I for $2bn ethylene cracker project in Port Arthur, US

BASF, Port Arthur

French energy group Total has started front-end engineering and design (FEED) for the construction of a $2bn steam cracker project at its Port Arthur facility in Texas, US.

The plant will have the capacity to produce one million tonnes of ethylene a year.

For the new project, Total has awarded a contract to Woodlands-based CB&I to provide its ethylene technology and front-end engineering and design (FEED) services for the proposed new ethane cracker.

Under the deal, CB&I will also provide seven SRT cracking heaters for the second integrated steam cracker to be built at its Port Arthur complex.

A final decision on the project is yet to be made.

Total Refining & Chemicals president Philippe Sauquet said: "This project is aligned with our strategy to strengthen our major integrated refining and petrochemical platforms worldwide.

"In the United States, we want to capitalise on the shale gas revoulution, during which gas prices have plunged 66%. In such an environment, the advantage to investing in petrochemical activities is access to a plentiful, inexpensive feedstock and to low-cost energy for our plants."

"This project is aligned with our strategy to strengthen our major integrated refining and petrochemical platforms worldwide."

CB&I president and chief executive officer Philip K Asherman said: "We appreciate the opportunity to work with Total, one of the world's largest integrated producers, and look forward to collaborating closely with them to develop this project through FEED and beyond.

"The award of both the technology license and the FEED phase for this significant ethylene project reflects the confidence Total has in CB&I's integrated capabilities."

The new project will be completed in 2019.

The Port Arthur campus is one of Total's six major integrated platforms across the world.

Total owns a refinery at the location, and the company jointly operates a petrochemical plant with BASF in the same location. Total owns a 40% stake in the petrochemical plant, while BASF owns a 60% share.

BASF and Total reinstated the current Port Arthur steam cracker in 2013, mainly to process ethane and butane produced from natural gas.

Image: BASF TOTAL Petrochemicals is a 60/40 joint-venture between BASF and Total Petrochemicals & Refining, which operates Port Arthur steam cracker and C4 Olefins complex. Photo courtesy of © BASF SE 2015