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Shell is moving forward with plans to install a new α-olefins unit in Geismar, La. The plant will cost around $700 million and have 425,000 metric tons of annual capacity when it opens in 2018. Construction is set to begin next year. The company has been considering expanding the Geismar operation since 2013. The new plant will bring the site’s α-olefins capacity to more than 1.3 million metric tons. The chemicals are used to make detergents, lubricants, and co-monomers for polyethylene. Seeking to cash in on cheap shale gas and to keep up with a boom in polyethylene production, Shell competitors such as Ineos, Chevron Phillips Chemical, and Sasol also have been expanding α-olefins capacity in recent years.
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