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Anticipated Demand Growth Prompts Odfjell to Expand Houston Chemical Storage Capacity
December 30, 2021

Global seaborne transportation and chemical storage company Odfjell said it is investing and expanding storage capacity at its Houston terminals to support ongoing regional growth in the chemical industry.

The company's expansion at Odfjell Terminals Houston (OTH), which will be financed through an existing credit facility, will include the addition of a new automated tank bay. Bay 13 at OTH will increase capacity by approximately 9% to 413,400 cubic meters (cm) with nine new tanks comprised of a mix of stainless steel and carbon-steel, with a total capacity of 32,400 cm. The capacity expansion will also allow OTH to relocate and consolidate products of existing customers and optimize the use of its current storage capacity for new customers and products.

OTH, located near the entrance of the Houston ship channel, currently has 119 tanks, two deepwater ship docks, four barge berths and one of the largest stainless steel storage capacities of any independent tank terminal in the world.

Odfjell said the expansion project is consistent with its strategy to position itself for healthy demand for storage capacity in the specialty/petrochemical industry in the US Gulf Coast region. Bulk chemicals, including intermediate and specialty chemical products exports in the US Gulf are expected to increase by 2.3 million mt by 2024, while import volumes are expected to increase by 389,000 mt by 2030.

The anticipated expansion in bulk chemicals, intermediate and specialty chemical imports and exports comes as additional Olefins and Polyolefins capacity is expected to come online in the next few years. In 2022, the US Polyolefins market is expected to see just under 4 million mt/yr come online

In Texas, ExxonMobil and SABIC's Gulf Coast Growth Ventures facility near Corpus Christi will bring with it a 1.8 million ton per year ethane cracker, two Polyethylene units with a combined capacity of 1.3 million mt/yr, and a 1.1 million mt/yr monoethylene glycol (MEG) unit.

Bayport Polymers in Texas is also expected to start up a 625,000 ton per year LLDPE unit.

Outside of Texas, Shell Chemical's $6 billion petrochemical complex in Pennsylvania is near completion and includes a 1.5 million mt/yr ethane cracker and three PE units totaling 1.6 million mt/yr. Nova Chemical is also expected to bring a 454,000 mt/yr LLDPE unit in St. Clair Ontario, Canada.

"As a result, storage demand is expected to rise and the development of Bay 13 will assist in further optimizing OTH and allow Odfjell Terminals to support industry growth for new and existing customers," Odfjell said.

Bay 13 is set to begin construction in Q1 2022 and is expected to be operational by the end of 2023.

By Brian Balboa for The Plastics Exchange.

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