Shell starts production at new Geismar petrochemicals unit

Courtesy Shell. Shell Geismar has started production on its fourth alpha olefins unit.

Shell Chemical LP has begun production of the fourth alpha olefins unit at its Geismar chemical manufacturing site.

The 425,000-ton-per-year capacity expansion brings total AO production at Geismar to more than 1.3 million tons per year. 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. Start-up operations began in December 2018.

Alpha olefins are key ingredients in end products like laundry detergents, motor oils and hand soaps.

“Our team delivered this world-class expansion project safely, on time and within budget,” Graham van’t Hoff, executive vice president for Shell’s global chemicals business, said in an announcement made Monday. “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.”

Shell started main construction on the fourth AO unit at Geismar in 2016, after making a final investment decision in November 2015. The new unit utilizes Shell’s advantaged technology, known as the Shell Higher Olefins Process, or SHOP technology. 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.

Turner Industries of Baton Rouge was the primary contractor on the project.