Shell reports “good progress” on construction of a 450,000metrictons/year linear alphaolefins (LAO) unit at Geismar, Louisiana, beside the Mississippi River. “We are on track to begin commercial production by the end of 2018,” says Graham van’t Hoff, executive vice president of Royal Dutch Shell’s global chemicals business. The company says it has also made a final investment decision to expand midcut and lightcut alcohol capacity at the site.
Shell began construction of the new LAO unit in January 2016. The company has finished building a cooling tower for the unit and two new storage areas, one for rail and one for the unit’s high purity butene. Ethylene will be supplied by Shell’s nearby Norco and Deer Park sites. Shell already has three LAO units at Geismar, where the company has been producing alphaolefins since the 1970s.
When the new unit begins production, Geismar will become the largest alphaolefins producer in the world, with a total LAO capacity of over 1.3 million metric tons/year, says Shell. The company also produces ethylene oxide, alcohol ethoxylates, ethylene glycols, and higher alcohols at Geismar.
Location: Shell Geismar
Interests: 100% Shell
Key Contractors: Jacobs Engineering, Turner Industries
Production: Once AO-4 is complete, Shell Geismar will be the largest producer of alpha olefins in the world.