InterviewTotal studies methanol-to-olefins, polyolefins project

20 July 2010 14:54  [Source: ICIS news]

By Anna Jagger

LONDON (ICIS news)--Total Petrochemicals is studying the construction of an integrated methanol-to-olefins (MTO) and polyolefins project with partners, an executive with the France-based company said on Tuesday.

Eric Duchesne, head of research and technology for base chemicals, said Total was implementing feasibility studies for a “multi billion dollar” project based on coal or gas.

The commercial-scale project would have a combined ethylene and propylene production capacity of around 1m tonnes/year, and downstream production would include polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE), Duchesne said.

Earlier this month, Total said it had successfully started up a semi-commercial MTO plant in Feluy, Belgium. The plant is based on MTO technology developed by UOP and Hydro and an Olefins Cracking Process (OCP), developed by UOP and Total.

“Technology validation is no longer the critical step for a commercial project,” remarked Duchesne, who led the Feluy MTO project. “Now it’s more about conducting feasibility studies before getting a project sanctioned.”

For the commercial project, access to feedstocks will be crucial. “If you want to start from coal or natural gas, it’s important to have a partner,” Duchesne remarked.

Various locations are under consideration, he said, without specifying details.

Total already has a significant petrochemicals presence in the Middle East through its operations in Qatar. The company is a partner in an ethane cracker in Ras Laffan and has downstream production in Mesaieed.

Total will also produce petrochemicals at its refinery project with Saudi Aramco in Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia, which is expected to start up in 2013.

The $8.5bn project (€6.5bn), which is being implemented by Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Co (Satorp), is expected to produce paraxylene (PX), benzene and polymer-grade propylene.

($1 = €0.77)

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By: Anna Jagger
+44 20 8652 3214

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