Projects: Braskem to start Mexico construction work in May

30 April 2012 00:00  [Source: ICB]

Braskem Idesa, a joint venture between Brazil-based Braskem and Mexico's Idesa, expects to begin civil construction work on its Ethylene XXI project in Mexico next month.

"The next steps are conclusion of the project finance in the next few months and to initiate the civil construction in May and the electro-mechanics a few months later," said Cleantho Leite, commercial director of Braskem Idesa and a business development director with Braskem.

The FEED (front-end engineering and design) work has been concluded, almost 50% of the site preparation/land movement has been completed and purchase orders have been placed for most of the long-lead items, he told ICIS. "Conclusion and start-up are set for beginning to mid-2015," he said.


Located in the Nanchital region of Mexico's Veracruz state, the project comprises a 1.05m tonne/year cracker and downstream polyethylene (PE) units.

Braskem also provided an update on potential investments in Venezuela and Bolivia.

In Venezuela, the company is focusing on its Propilsur joint venture with Venezuela's state-owned chemicals company Pequiven. The joint venture plans to build a 300,000 tonne/year polypropylene (PP) plant in the Paraguana region, which would be based on propylene from the Paraguana refinery complex.

Braskem and Pequiven had also been studying an ethylene/PE investment in Venezuela, but the project was put on hold because of uncertainties concerning feedstock availability.

The 300,000 tonne/year Propilsur PP project is being re-evaluated and is in the second stage of the front-end loading (FEL 2) phase, said Sergio Thiesen, another ­business development director with Braskem.

"We expect some further advances in these preliminary studies in order to set new target dates," Thiesen said.

Propilsur could analyse the possibility of returning to the ethylene/PE project, if Venezuela's state-owned energy group PDVSA presents competitive raw material options, Thiesen added.

Braskem remains interested in a potential ethylene/PE project in Bolivia based on the ethane content of natural gas supplied from Bolivia to Brazil. The best location would be the border area between Bolivia and Brazil, said Thiesen.

"Braskem has an ongoing interest to build ethylene and PE units based on the ethane content in the natural gas that goes to Brazil," he stated. "In our opinion, the best technical solution is to build this plant in the border between both countries."

Bolivian state-owned oil and gas company Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) is studying an ethylene and PE project in Yacuiba, in Bolivia's Gran Chaco province, near a planned liquid separation plant located before the line enters into Argentina.

Braskem does "not have details relating to this new approach that YPFB is considering", Thiesen remarked.


YPFB's proposed project in Yacuiba has been modified and is now expected to include 1.05m tonnes/year of PE instead of the previously announced 600,000 tonnes/year, according to Jorge Buhler, director of US-based Polyolefins Consulting. Start-up is expected in 2016.

The Yacuiba liquids separation plant is expected to begin operations in 2014, when it will start processing natural gas exported to Argentina, Buhler said.

Braskem is also progressing an integrated cracker and PE project in Peru with Petroperu based on ethane from the natural gas reserves in Peru's Las Malvinas region.

By: Anna Jagger
+44 20 8652 3214

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