Shell Expands Alcohols at Geismar

07.06.2017 -

Shell Chemical has made a final investment decision to expand mid-cut and low-cut fatty alcohol capacity at its plant in Geismar, Louisiana, USA, to meet growing demand for surfactant and plasticizer alcohols.

The company did not disclose the size of the expansion but said it plans to start commercial production of incremental alcohols at the same time as its fourth linear alpha olefins (LAO) unit, which is under construction and on track to start commercial operations by the end of 2018.

Increasing Geismar’s alcohol capacity helps Shell to adapt to changing market conditions by internally consuming both mid-cut linear alpha olefin and internal olefin feedstocks, the company stated.

The 425,000 t/y LAO plant is one of Shell’s largest investments in the US, noted Graham van’t Hoff, executive vice president for the group’s global chemicals business. Ethylene feedstock for the facility will be sourced from Shell’s Norco and Deer Park sites nearby. Once the expansion is completed, total capacity at Geismar will be 1.3 million t/y, making it the largest alpha olefins production site in the world.

Site preparations are also underway for Shell’s proposed petrochemicals complex in Pennsylvania, which will produce 1.6 million t/y of polyethylene using ethane produced from shale gas in the Marcellus and Utica basins. Main construction is scheduled to start in late 2017 with commercial production expected sometime after 2020.