Shell Chemical starts construction of fourth alpha olefin unit in Geismar, La.

Shell Chemical LP has started construction of its fourth alpha olefin (AO) unit in Geismar, La., U.S.A., site, that will boost its total alpha olefin capacity to more than 1.3 million tonnes per annum. The capacity of the fourth alpha olefin unit is 425,000 tonnes per annum.

At a groundbreaking ceremony last Tuesday, officials said the new plant will make the 800-acre complex the world’s largest producer of alpha olefins. Alpha olefins are used in the production of stronger and lighter polyethylene plastic for packaging and bottles, as well as engine and industrial oils and drilling fluids.

The Shell Geismar Chemical Plant is located next to the Mississippi River, about 20 miles south of Baton
Rouge, La. It is a stand-alone chemicals manufacturing plant, operated by Shell Chemical LP.

The site also produces alcohols, ethoxylates, ethylene oxide and ethylene glycols. The ethylene feedstock for these units come from Shell’s nearby Norco and Deer Park sites.

Shell Chemical LP announced the final investment decision to add this fourth unit last November, in response to increased global customer demand for linear alpha olefins. The investment in this fourth unit is USD 717 million. The construction site employs 1,500 people and when the unit comes onstream in 2018, 20 permanent jobs are supposed to be created.

In addition to the Geismar site, Shell produces alpha olefins at Stanlow in the UK, operated by Essar Oil (UK) Ltd on Shell’s behalf as part of an integrated oil refinery and petrochemicals site.