Venezuela awards Tecnimont LDPE plant contract

16 January 2008 18:00  [Source: ICIS news]

CARACAS (ICIS news)--In a sign that Venezuela is serious about investing the billions it has promised to its petrochemical sector, state producer Pequiven awarded Maire Tecnimont a €90m ($134m) contract to build a new low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plant, the engineering firm announced on the Italian stock exchange on Wednesday.

The Rome-based company said it will initially provide basic engineering design services for a 350,000 tonnes/year LDPE plant at El Tablazo petrochemical complex. The plant should be completed by 2011, said the release.

"We are very satisfied to have won this project that enables us to embark in Venezuela, further widening our presence in such a strategic area as that of South America," said company Chief Executive Officer Fabrizio Di Amato.

The project is Tecnimont's first in Venezuela.

The new plant at El Tablazo is part of a larger project to expand overall production at the complex located in the western state of Zulia. In association with its affiliate Polinter, Pequiven is expanding its existing PE units at El Tablazo and building a new ethane cracker, which is expected to have an ethylene capacity of 800,000-1m tonnes/year.

The work at El Tablazo is just one facet of Venezuela's many-pronged "Petrochemical Revolution," which aims to triple the nation's petrochemical output by 2013.

Awarding the construction contract was an important step towards seeing those plans through. Pequiven officials have told ICIS news that securing engineering resources in a highly competitive global market will be one of the main challenges to fulfilling its ambitious expansion goals.

Speaking at a conference in late 2007, Pequiven's commercial manager Pedro Ramirez said the company expects to increase LDPE production to 607,000 tonnes/year from 80,000 tonnes/year over a five year period.

By: Jasmina Kelemen
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