Equistar’s olefins plant at Texas will transition to a feedstock slate of nearly all NGL in 2010

Equistar Chemicals’ Corpus Christi, Texas, olefins plant will transition to a feedstock slate of nearly all natural gas liquids (NGL) in 2010 to benefit from the anticipated cost advantage of this feedstock for the next several years. The company will maintain the flexibility to return to a heavy liquids feed slate in the future when appropriate. It’s butadiene extraction and hydrodealkylation units at the site will be idled as part of this transition. The Corpus Christi plant currently utilizes a mix of NGLs and higher-cost feedstocks such as crude oil-based naphtha and condensate, which yield co-products such as butadiene and benzene. The switch to lower-cost NGLs such as ethane and propane, will reduce feedstock costs, provide maximum flexibility and result in lowering operating costs comparable to an NGL cracker. The capability will be fully operational in the first quarter 2010 at the conclusion of a scheduled maintenance turnaround. The Corpus Christi plant has a nameplate capacity of 770,000 tpa of ethylene and 320,000 tpa of propylene.
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