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Surplus low-cost feedstocks continue to attract petchem projects
HOUSTON – The burst of major petrochemical capital projects in the U.S. and around the world in the past few years is potentially entering a second wave. The main driver is continued access to low cost feedstocks, according to Tom Pickett, Vice-President of Ethylene Technology in TechnipFMC’s Process Technology business, who addressed today’s monthly roundtable luncheon hosted by the Rice Global Engineering & Construction Forum (RGF).
“Even though there has been a slight pause in the number of large new petrochemical projects, the same attractive business drivers exist,” Pickett said. “We anticipate that announcements of these large capital projects will continue.”
Pickett attributed the increase in supplies of petrochemical feedstocks to advances in upstream drilling and production technologies, namely horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Just as technology led the way upstream, he said that technological advancements would be crucial as licensors and engineering and construction (E&C) companies seek ways to reduce capital costs and streamline project execution schedules for petrochemical megaprojects.
“During this slower period, E&C companies need to examine methods and approaches to capital projects, looking for ways to improve schedules, lower costs, and improve project economics for customers,” Pickett said. “Companies willing to invest in technology, whether design or project execution techniques, will reap the rewards.”
About Tom Pickett: For more than 35 years, Tom has worked in the olefins related petrochemicals industry, gaining extensive domestic and international experience. Currently he is part of TechnipFMC’s Process Technology business unit in Houston, with responsibility for licensing, technology development and strategic planning. He is active in AIChE’s Ethylene Producers Committee and is a registered professional engineer in the state of Texas. Tom holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Texas A&M University.
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