Shell Chemical LP (Shell) has started production of the fourth alpha olefins (AO) unit at its Geismar, Louisiana, USA chemical manufacturing site. The 425,000-tonne-year capacity expansion brings total AO production at Geismar to more than 1.3 million tonnes/year. Start-up operations began in December 2018.
Alpha olefins are key ingredients in many finished products that people use and enjoy every day, including laundry detergents, motor oils, and hand soaps.
“Our team delivered this world-class expansion project safely, on time and within budget,” said Graham van’t Hoff, Executive Vice President for Shell’s global chemicals business. “This is a key growth project for Shell’s global chemicals business. Geismar will continue to play a leading role in providing the materials for products that an increasing number of people need and enjoy.”
The new unit strengthens Shell’s leading position in the US Gulf Coast and illustrates the strategic value of its integrated downstream business. The Geismar site is supported with advantaged ethylene feedstock from Shell’s nearby Norco, Louisiana and Deer Park, Texas manufacturing sites, enabling the site to respond to market conditions.
The expansion project contains around 3,570 tonnes of steel, 18,290 metres of concrete and 85 linear kilometres of pipe. Several new pieces of infrastructure were built as part of the expansion, including a new water cooling tower, a significant expansion of the site’s rail loading capabilities, and the repurposing of a previously idled tank farm.