Poland's PKN Orlen considers PET joint venture

09 September 2011 14:20  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--PKN Orlen is considering a petrochemical investment downstream from its recently launched 600,000 tonne/year purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant, the Polish group said on Friday.

A major petrochemical player could be approached to form a joint venture that would roll out the investment in the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) sector, it added.

Orlen, which has also built a 400,000 tonne/year paraxylene (PX) plant to provide feedstock for the PTA installation in Wloclawek, northern Poland, was clearly examining whether it could “build the PX/PTA value chain further, either alone or with a partner”, said Robert Rethy, an analyst at Prague-based investment bank Wood & Company.

Orlen said that a new group strategy, which will address feasible petrochemical investments, will be published before the end of this year.

Looking at the outlook for the possible PET investment and other potential Orlen petrochemical investments, Rethy added: “Petchem investments often make sense if made in the context of refining business optimisation, to eliminate production or sales/marketing bottlenecks. We believe it is far more difficult to justify stand-alone petchem investments in landlocked Europe, which are based on oil/naphtha.”

“Obviously, a potential shale gas success [from exploration commenced in Poland] may completely change petchem economics in the country, but that is a minimum five to 10-year story,” he added.

When opened in June, Orlen's PTA plant was welcomed by European PET producers, many of whom said they were suffering from a lack of primary feedstock PTA.

For more on PET and PTA visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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