France’s Total and the Novealis joint venture of Mubadala subsidiaries Austria’s Borealis and Canada’s Nova Chemicals have greenlit a 50:50 $1.7bn joint project based around a 1mn t/y ethane cracker under construction at Port Arthur, Texas.

The plant is due to come online in 2020 processing locally-produced shale gas. Besides the cracker, the venture will operate Total’s existing 400,000 t/y polyethylene (PE) plant at Bayport, Texas, 120km west of the cracker and a...