Total-Borealis-Nova JV to Build Ethane Cracker in SE Texas

Total-Borealis-Nova JV to Build Ethane Cracker in SE Texas
$1.7 billion Total-Borealis-Nova Texas ethane cracker to create 1,500 construction jobs.

French supermajor Total S.A. announced Monday that it will form a joint venture (JV) with Borealis AG and Nova Chemicals Corp. to build a $1.7 billion ethane steam cracker as well as a polyethylene (PE) unit at its facilities in Port Arthur and Bayport, Texas, respectively.

"After significant investments in U.S. LNG and U.S. shale gas in 2016, this almost two billion dollar investment signals our determination to strengthen our presence in the United States, where we have operated for 60 years and have more than 6,000 employees," Total Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné stated in a company announcement. "We want to take advantage of the business-friendly environment to contribute to making American petrochemicals even greater. By joining forces with Borealis and Nova, we aim to create a major player in the U.S. polyethylene market."

Total would own a 50-percent stake in the JV, which the company anticipates will be established late this year pending regulatory approvals. Specific components of the JV include:

  • Building a 1 million ton per year (tpy) ethane steam cracker alongside Total's Port Arthur refinery and the existing Total/BASF steam cracker there
  • Total's existing 400,000 tpy PE plant in Bayport
  • Building a 625,000 tpy PE plant at the Bayport site that uses the proprietary Borstar process technology.

Total said that it has already awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the ethane steam cracker at Port Arthur to CB&I. The company anticipates the creation of approximately 1,500 jobs during peak engineering and construction activity. For the new Bayport PE plant, Total said that it will make its final investment decision when the JV is formed.

According to a separate press statement from Borealis, the planned start-up date for the ethylene cracker and Borstar PE plant is late 2020. Borealis noted the latter project would mark the first Borstar technology deployment in the Americas.

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