Phillips 66 to launch $1.5 bil­lion ex­pan­sion of Sweeny hub

Houston Chronicle - - BUSINESS - By Kather­ine Blunt kather­ine.blunt@chron.com twit­ter.com/kather­ineblunt

Phillips 66 said Wed­nes­day that it would ex­pand its Sweeny Hub near Old Ocean as part of a $1.5 bil­lion project to transport and process more nat­u­ral gas liq­uids amid a boom in Gulf Coast petro­chem­i­cals man­u­fac­tur­ing.

The Hous­ton re­fin­ing com­pany plans to con­struct two units to process mixed nat­u­ral gas liq­uids into sep­a­rate com­po­nents in­clud­ing eth­ane, propane and bu­tane — all feed­stocks used to make petro­chem­i­cals or cer­tain types of fuel. Each unit will have the ca­pac­ity to process 150,000 bar­rels a day.

It also plans to build ad­di­tional pipe­lines and stor­age to sup­port the ex­panded op­er­a­tions. The project is ex­pected to start up in late 2020.

In a state­ment, CEO Greg Gar­land said the ex­pan­sion will bet­ter po­si­tion the fa­cil­ity to cap­i­tal­ize on boom­ing pro­duc­tion in the Per­mian Basin in West Texas. Drilling there has un­leashed a steady sup­ply of low-cost nat­u­ral gas that has sup­ported some $60 bil­lion in petro­chem­i­cals in­vest­ments along the Gulf Coast.

The project is ex­pected to sup­port 2,000 con­struc­tion-re­lated jobs and 25 full-time jobs. When the ex­pan­sion is com­plete, the fa­cil­ity will have the ca­pac­ity to process and sep­a­rate 400,000 bar­rels of nat­u­ral gas liq­uids a day.

Phillips 66 has for months been ex­pand­ing its petro­chem­i­cals man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­ity through Chevron Phillips Chem­i­cal Co., its joint ven­ture with oil pro­ducer Chevron.

Chevron Phillips Chem­i­cal ear­lier this year be­gan op­er­at­ing an eth­ane cracker at its Cedar Bayou com­plex in Bay­town. The cracker, the com­pany's first new one in decades, pro­cesses eth­ane into eth­yl­ene to make plas­tics.

That eth­yl­ene sup­ply sup­ports the pro­duc­tion of poly­eth­yl­ene — the world's most com­mon plas­tic — at the com­pany's Sweeny com­plex. There, it built two new poly­eth­yl­ene units that be­gan op­er­at­ing in Septem­ber with the com­bined ca­pac­ity to pro­duce 4.4 bil­lion pounds of plas­tics a year.

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