SAN ANTONIO (ICIS)–Kuwait’s EQUATE Petrochemical has started building its planned monoethylene glycol (MEG) facility in the US, which will reach peak in the second half of this year, with plant start-up on track in 2019, the company’s president and CEO Ramesh Ramachandran said late Saturday.
Project cost in the procurement phase of the 750,000 tonne/year plant in Oyster Creek, Freeport, Texas, was “under what we initially estimated… but construction is the crucial phase of the project”, Ramachandran told ICIS on the sidelines of this year’s International Petrochemical Conference (IPC).
The plant will be operated by Dubai-based MEGlobal, which became a fully-owned subsidiary of EQUATE in late 2015 after acquiring the joint venture company from Kuwait-based Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) and US’ Dow Chemical.
“Construction is the very big portion of the cost and that is just beginning… but because of support from Dow, we are quite confident we will be able to complete it on time,” he said without disclosing the project’s financial details.
“We expect what we call the heavy lifting to begin in July … and the target is still to start up in the second half of 2019,” Ramachandran said.
About 500 people are currently working at the plant site in the US Gulf. “We should ramp up to 2,000-3,000 people by the August-September timeframe,” he added.
The facility will be using Dow’s technology, with the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract awarded to US energy and petrochemicals engineering firm Jacobs in November 2016.
Hosted by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the IPC takes place on 25-27 March in San Antonio, Texas.
Interview article by Pearl Bantillo