By Dr. Cameron Chai
Williams, an integrated natural gas company, has received approval from the Board of Directors to expand its Geismar olefins production plant in the south of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The expansion will boost the ethylene production capacity of the facility by 600 Mlbs annually, thereby increasing the overall capacity to 1.95 Blbs. This will help Williams to better serve the petrochemical companies with new ethylene market supply.
The expanded Geismar production plant will commence operations during the third quarter of 2013. The investment estimated for the project lies in the range $350 to 400 million in 2012 to 2013.
The strong crude oil prices and the shale gas revolution in the U.S. has provided an incredible cost benefit for ethylene manufacturing in the region when compared to other supply regions. This resulted in significant revitalization of petrochemical business in North America and short of supply in the US ethylene market. The expansion will enhance the company’s emerging infrastructure that serves the petrochemical sector in the Gulf Coast region and improves the ethane position.
The Geismar plant is a light-end natural gas liquid (NGL) cracker that currently produces 1.35 Blbs of ethylene per year, 37,000 bpd of ethane and 3,000 bpd of propane. In addition, the facility produces debutanized aromatic concentrate (DAC), butadiene and propylene.