Shell Chemical LP (Shell) is making good progress on the main construction of its fourth linear alpha olefins (AO) unit at its chemicals manufacturing site in Geismar, Louisiana, USA. The 425,000-tonne-per-year capacity increase will make Shell’s Geismar site the largest AO producer in the world.
"This is one of Shell’s largest chemicals investments in the USA,” said Graham van’t Hoff, executive vice president for Royal Dutch Shell plc’s global Chemicals business. “We are on track to begin commercial production by the end of 2018, enabling Shell to remain an important economic engine for this region.”
Shell started main site construction in January 2016, after taking a final investment decision in November 2015, and has safely placed large process equipment like reactors, columns and vessels, and pre-assembled modules that will form the core of the new AO unit at Geismar.
More than 1,000 hours have been spent on engineering and planning in the last six months. The project is currently taking delivery of more than 600 large pieces of equipment. Two large ramps, each able to sustain 250-tonne loads, have been placed side-by-side to load and unload heavy equipment.
Shell has also finished building a cooling tower for the new AO unit, and two new storage areas, one for rail and one for the AO unit’s high-purity butene.
With this investment in a new and cost-competitive facility, Shell’s global Chemicals business is well placed to respond to increased global demand for linear alpha olefins.
Shell will supply advantaged ethylene feedstock from the nearby Norco and Deer Park sites, which allows the site to respond to market conditions. The new capacity brings the total AO production at Shell’s Geismar site to more than 1.3 million tonnes per annum.
The project work is employing around 1,500 construction workers, and the total number of permanent employees will increase to around 700 when completed.