InterviewNPRA ’11: MEGlobal to explore expansion options

28 March 2011 22:18  [Source: ICIS news]

By Joseph Chang

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--Dubai-based MEGlobal will explore a number of options to expand monoethylene glycol (MEG) capacity despite feedstock constraints, an executive said on Monday.

“New glycol capacity will eventually arrive, but the question is: Where will the feedstock come from?” said Frank Hanraets, vice president, commercial, on the sidelines of the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC).

“We think the answer is from new technologies such as MTO [methanol-to-olefins] and coal-to-olefins. We’re looking at these options, as well as bio-based MEG,” he added.

Sufficient gas supply the Middle East is uncertain, said Hanraets.

But “we are hoping there will be another MEG expansion in Kuwait,” he added.

MEGlobal is a 50:50 joint venture between US-based Dow Chemical and Kuwait’s Petrochemical Industries Company. It markets 3m tonnes/year of MEG globally, including 1.2m tonnes it produces at its three plants in Alberta, Canada.

While a Kuwait expansion is a possibility, MEGlobal is looking at new technologies to produce MEG, said Hanraets.

“MTO and coal-to-olefins are the future of producing glycol, but it will take some time before we get meaningful commercial production,” Hanraets said.

“We’re also looking at bio-routes which would involve sugarcane-based MEG. There is a huge push to green MEG – not just for PET [polyethylene terephthalate] bottles, but fibres in vehicles. We cannot afford to ignore this trend,” he added.

MEGlobal is also considering debottlenecking at its Canada plants, noted Hanraets.

Hosted by the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), the IPC runs through Tuesday.

For more on MEG visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Joseph Chang
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