Petrochemical talk with Greg Masica, vice president and site manager for BASF TOTAL

Greg Masica, vice president and site manager for BASF TOTAL Petrochemicals LLC, was the featured guest speaker at the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce Membership Luncheon on Tuesday, Aug. 22.
“It is important for the community to understand the purpose of our plant facility, the value we bring to our local region, the consumer products produced with our raw materials and the overall impact the chemical industry has on individuals’ daily quality of life,” Masica said of his recent presentation to Chamber members at Bob Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur.
The Business Journal interviewed Masica prior to the Aug. 22 event regarding several topics pertaining to the BASF Port Arthur site, which employs 287 BASF employees and has approximately 250 contractors on-site to support maintenance activities. Among the topics discussed was the plant’s $1 billion steam cracker investment with Total. BASF TOTAL Petrochemicals LLC (BTP) is a 60/40 joint venture between BASF Corporation and Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA Inc. BASF is the world’s largest chemical company, and Total is one of the world’s leading oil companies. BASF has responsibility for daily operations of the steam cracker and a world-scale C4 olefins complex adjacent to the steam cracker.
Construction on the $1 billion steam cracker began in October 1998 and production began in December 2001. Approximately 3,500 people were employed during the construction phase.

How has BASF’s joint venture with Total on the existing steam cracker benefited both parties?

Both parent companies, BASF and Total, benefit from the Port Arthur joint venture and the integrated features of both facilities. The Total refinery and the joint venture share material streams, utilities, equipment and piping, allowing increased efficiency and processing capabilities for both companies. Additional BASF locations use the raw materials produced at the Port Arthur site for other downstream chemicals such as ethylene oxide, ethylene glycols, surfactants, polyurethane foams, acrylic acids and super absorbent polymers. Total Petrochemicals and Refining USA Inc. uses the ethylene and propylene produced at the Port Arthur joint venture for its polypropylene and polyethylene products manufactured at other Total locations.

What is the purpose of the BASF TOTAL steam cracker?

The steam cracker turns a wide range of cracker feedstocks such as ethane, propane, butane and naphtha into ethylene, propylene, butadiene and other chemical raw materials. These raw materials are the essential building-block chemicals for many BASF products and are used in hundreds of consumer products, ranging from the plastics used in automobiles to man-made fibers used in carpets.

What are some examples of consumer end products that result from production at the BASF TOTAL Port Arthur site?

Ethylene, propylene and butadiene are the primary raw materials produced at the Port Arthur site, which are early derivatives of plastics. Ethylene is also used in the manufacture of products such as anti-freeze, polyester and pharmaceuticals. Propylene is used in products such as diapers and adhesives. Butadiene is a key raw material in the production of rubber.
BASF operates four of its five business segments in North America: Chemicals, Agricultural Solutions, Performance Products, and Functional Materials & Solutions. The Oil & Gas segment is not present in the North American region. Key industries served include chemicals, automotive, agriculture, construction, personal care, health and nutrition, packaging, and consumer products. BASF has the broadest portfolio in the chemical industry. Through science and innovation, BASF serves customers in nearly every industry.

What are the current production numbers for the plant?

The BASF TOTAL Petrochemicals LLC site in Port Arthur has a nameplate capacity of 1,040,000 metric tons of ethylene, 890 metric tons of propylene, and 290 metric tons of butadiene

Future plans for BASF TOTAL Port Arthur?

BASF TOTAL Petrochemicals is continually exploring opportunities to increase asset effectiveness, margin optimization, and equipment reliability. Both parent companies, BASF and Total, are committed to these priorities at the joint venture and continue to invest in ongoing improvements to ensure we remain competitive in the petrochemicals industry.
The North America region remains an attractive market due to its anticipated economic growth over the next decade, its standing as the second