Total, the French oil and gas major recently announced making a final investment in Bayport Polymers which is a venture between Total, Borealis of Austria and Nova Chemical of Canada. According to Total, Bayport Polymers plans to more than double its capacity of polyethylene production to approximately 1.1 million tons a year with the help of this investment.
According to the Houston Business Journal, the contract to build the new plant has been awarded to McDermott, the American engineering, construction, procurement and installation company.
According to reliable sources, Total is aiming to become one of the major players in the U.S. polyethylene market. A year ago, Total invested $1.7 billion at its Port Arthur refining complex to build an ethane steam cracker which can process ethane abundantly obtained from U.S shale gas at competitive prices. The cracked ethane was meant to be supplied to Bayport polyethylene units and production is expected to begin in 2021.
The Bayport project is a part of Total’s $3 billion program to become a formidable competitor in the U.S. polyethylene market. Total already has a polyethylene unit that produces 400,000 tons per year and the new unit is expected to add a production capacity of 625,000 tons a year.
Bernard Pinatel, President for Refining and Chemicals, Total has been reported to say that plastics and polymers are witnessing increasing demand as light materials are increasingly replacing metals in industrial sectors such as energy and transport.
Polyethylene is being extensively used in bottles, packaging, plastics, pipes and other composite materials and Total is trying to capitalize on this market, which is growing by 3 to 4 percent every year by globally expanding its petrochemicals refining units.
Total has taken various other steps for increasing its footprint in the polyethylene market such as the recent signing of an agreement with Saudi Aramco to develop a petrochemical complex at the Jubail Satorp refinery with the investment of nearly $5 billion.