The US Shale Gas Spawns Megaplant Projects in the States
Other Chemicals and Polymers
Other planned expansions for organic chemicals include formic acid and other carboxylic acids, acrylic acid, oxo derivatives, linear alpha-olefins, methyl mercaptan, caprolactam, methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI), succinic acid. Alongside these is a slew of new plants making ammonia, nitric acid, chlorine and caustic soda. The methanol plants now being built or at the planning stage include Methanex (Geismar, Louisiana, 2014); Celanese and Mitsui (Clear Lake, Texas, 2015); South Louisiana Methanol (St. James Parish, Louisiana, 2016); and EmberClear (Natchez, Mississippi, 2017).
New polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plants include AlphaPet/Indorama Ventures (Decatur, Alabama, 2015); Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi (Corpus Christi, Texas, 2016); and Eastman Chemical (Henry County, Virginia, 2016). The region will also see new capacity for polyurethane (BASF); methyl methacrylate (MMA) (Evonik, Arkema); EPDM rubber (Dow Chemical); polyamide (Invista); ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer (EVAL) (Nippon Synthetic Chemical Industry/Nippon Goshei, Kuraray); and polyvinyl alcohol (Kuraray).
Power Generation – From Nuclear to Bio
The economic upturn has also raised demand for electricity in the region: Early last year the Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave the go-ahead for the first new nuclear power reactors in the US since more than 30 years. Several gas-fired and IGCC plants are also in the pipeline. The two existing PWR reactors at the Vogtle plant in Burke County, Georgia, will be joined by two new Westinghouse AP1000 reactors. Startup was planned for 2016 and 2017 respectively — but the project is currently around 14 months behind schedule as low gas prices have undermined its economic justification. Two further AP1000s will be built alongside the existing reactor at the Summer power plant in South Carolina. Construction began in March, but is already delayed. A fifth nuclear reactor to enter service before 2020 could be in Tenesse: In 1988, construction of a second reactor at Watts Bar stopped at about 80 percent completion. It is now expected to be running by 2015.
Notable gas-fired power projects include three developments by Panda Power Funds. The 758 MW Panda Sherman plant in Sherman, Texas, will be commissioned at the end of 2014. It is designed to reach full capacity in just 30 minutes to support high levels of wind power. Panda is also building two identical plants at Temple, Texas. dst