Bayport Polymers (Baystar), a 50:50 joint venture (JV) between TotalEnergies and Borealis, has started commercial operations of a $2bn ethane cracker in Texas.

The ethane cracker is located in the Port Arthur refinery of TotalEnergies. It will produce one million tons of ethylene per annum.

The French energy company said that the ethane cracker project represented 14 million hours of work and at peak construction, involved over 2,500 workers.

According to TotalEnergies, the produced ethylene will be used as feedstock for supplying the existing polyethylene (PE) units of Baystar. It will also be used for a new Borstar technology polyethylene unit, which is being constructed in Bayport, Texas.

TotalEnergies refining and chemicals president Bernard Pinatel said: “After significant investments in U.S. LNG and renewable electricity in 2022, the start-up of this new cracker is another milestone strengthening TotalEnergies’ presence in the United States.

“This investment is in perfect alignment with our strategy to develop petrochemicals at our integrated platforms. At Port Arthur we take advantage of the abundance of ethane in the U.S.”

In Bayport, the Baystar joint venture’s existing polyethylene units have a capacity of 400,000 tons per year. The new Borstar technology polyethylene unit in Pasadena will have a capacity of 625,000 metric tons per year.

Borealis CEO Thomas Gangl said: “I am excited to see the start-up of this new ethane cracker, an important milestone for us as we are expanding our global footprint through Baystar.

“We are pleased to bring Borealis’ proprietary Borstar technology to North America for the first time, allowing Baystar to produce enhanced polyethylene products for the most demanding applications.”