Bayport Polymers LLC, a joint venture between petrochemicals firms Nova Chemicals, Borealis AG and Total SA, has given the green light to a major new polyethylene resin unit in Bayport, Texas.
The partners announced the final decision to move forward on Sept. 25. The project will have annual production capacity of almost 1.4 billion pounds of PE.
Calgary, Alberta-based Nova and Borealis of Vienna will participate in Bayport Polymers through Novealis Holdings LLC, a new JV formed by those two firms. Nova and Borealis already have some shared ownership.
The new unit will use Borstar-brand technology and will more than double the site's PE capacity. Startup of the new unit is expected in 2021. It is expected to employ 1,750 construction staff during peak activity.
Bayport Polymers already is building a 2.2 billion pound capacity ethylene cracker in Port Arthur, Texas. Officials said in a news release that the cracker will process ethane, which they added "is abundantly available and competitively priced in the U.S." and will supply Bayport polyethylene units.
Paris-based Total owns 50 percent of Bayport Polymers, with Novealis owning the other half. Total also is contributing an existing PE unit in Bayport — with annual capacity of almost 900 million pounds — to the JV.
"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," Bayport Polymers President Diane Chamberlain said in the release.
The project "is in line with [Total's] strategy to develop petrochemicals at our major integrated complexes and leverage competitively priced feedstocks," Total refining and chemicals President Bernard Pinatel said.
Nova CEO Todd Karran added that partnering with Total and Borealis and bringing Borstar technology to North America "will allow us to better serve our customers throughout the Americas by delivering a broader slate of products that help make everyday life healthier, easier and safer."
The three firms first announced plans for the JV which became Bayport Polymers in early 2017. Their project now joins a massive list of PE expansions on the U.S. Gulf Coast that have resulted from newfound supplies of natural gas feedstock throughout North America. These projects are expected to yield a net increase of at least 20 percent in the region's PE production capacity.