Scheduled to be commissioned in 2020, the 1 Mt/y ethane cracker is being built alongside Total’s Port Arthur Refinery and the existing Total/BASF steam cracker.

Bay-Pol president Diane Chamberlain said: “This is an important milestone for our new company.

“The power of partnership demonstrated here today firmly positions Bay-Pol to deliver innovative products and applications to new and existing customers, while reinforcing our position in an increasingly competitive polyethylene market.”

Total refining & chemicals president Bernard Pinatel said: “This project is in perfect alignment with Total’s strategy to expand in petrochemicals by leveraging our integrated platforms like Port Arthur and taking advantage of the abundance of ethane in the U.S.”

The project is expected to create about 1,500 jobs during the engineering and construction phase and a further 60 full-time jobs once operational.

NOVA Chemicals CEO Todd Karran said: “The ethane steam cracker is the first phase of our joint venture with Total and Borealis, which will help us gain additional access to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

“This project will allow us to better serve our customers throughout the Americas by delivering a broader slate of products that help make everyday life healthier, easier and safer.”

In 2017, Total said it plans to build ethane steam cracker and a new Borstar polyethylene unit on the US Gulf Coast, together with its joint venture partners.

The plan involved construction of a new 1 Mt/y ethane steam cracker in Port Arthur, Texas, and a new 625 kt/y Borstar polyethylene plant on the Bayport site, Texas.

CB&I had secured the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the ethane steam cracker.

Novealis is a joint venture of Borealis and NOVA Chemicals.