BP, Technip strike deal on global PTA technology alliance

08 September 2000 15:49  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (CNI)--French engineering group Technip announced Friday it has entered into a global technology alliance with BP to deliver all the Anglo-American energy and chemicals giant's purified terephthalic acid (PTA) projects.

Technip has set up a dedicated team based in Rome to work exclusively on the PTA alliance with BP, said a spokeswoman for the French group. She told CNI that the special unit consists of 20 people focusing on PTA technology issues, and that Technip's resources in the alliance are further strengthened by staff based across the world who are helping BP investigate PTA investment decisions.

Both BP and Technip said that the aims of the alliance are to reduce the overall cost of PTA plant ownership, and to reduce project cycle time. Neither company would disclose the performance targets on ownership costs and cycle time, or any details on the commercial structure of the alliance. Technip said, though, that the duration of the PTA partnership is open-ended.

Technip said that it would provide engineering and unspecified "certain services" to BP under the alliance. A spokesman for BP said that the alliance would see Technip provide engineering and procurement services to its PTA projects.

The BP spokesman said that Technip is currently working on two key PTA projects for the group. They are the 20% expansion of its No3 PTA plant in Geel, Belgium, which has a capacity of 500 000 tonne/year, and a facility being developed in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China under a joint venture that BP has with two local companies. BP has an 80% stake in the venture and its partners are the Fu Hua Group (15%) and China Chemical Fibre Group (5%).

BP's confirmed that the 350 000 tonne/year project is progressing well towards its scheduled completion deadline of early 2003. The project was originally planned to have a capacity of 250 000 tonne/year, he said, but weak market conditions delayed the project's initial target completion date of early 2001.

The energy and chemicals giant is the world's leading producer of PTA with a total annual capacity of 5.36m tonne/year. BP's top ranking in PTA followed its acquisition of US energy and chemicals group Amoco.

Following the Amoco acquisition, BP has highlighted a host of other PTA projects on the near horizon - all of which Technip is now earmarked to execute. The additional PTA projects are:

  • A 700 000 tonne/year project in North America, which could be operational by the end of 2003
  • Increasing the capacity of its Cooper River, South Carolina plant in the US by up to 180 000 tonne/year
  • A worldscale plant to be built in northwest Europe, which is at the outline proposal stage
  • And, a second plant at Zhuhai of some 500 000-600 000 tonne/year capacity, according to sister publication Asian Chemical News (ACN).

Technip built a number of PTA projects now held by BP, including:

  • The No1 and No3 plants at Geel (250 000 tonne/year and 500 000 tonne/year, respectively)
  • Some 500 000 tonne/year of capacity at Cooper River
  • A 250 000 tonne/year plant at Yizheng, China
  • And, the original 500 000 tonne/year plant at Kuantan, Malaysia.

Earlier this week BP and Technip signed an exclusive, global agreement on polyolefins process design. They said that the agreement is unrelated to the alliance announced today, and which was signed Wednesday.

By: Patrick Reynolds
+44 208 652 3214

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