Mexico's Ethylene XXI project on schedule for 2015 start-up

14 August 2012 22:49  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Mexico's Ethylene XXI project is on schedule for its start-up in 2015, Brazil-based Braskem said on Tuesday.

The company provided updates on Ethylene XXI and several other projects that it is considering or undertaking.

Braskem has a 65% stake in the Ethylene XXI project, with Mexico-based Idesa holding the remainder.

Located in the Nanchital region of Mexico's Veracruz state, the Ethylene XXI project comprises an integrated ethane cracker and polyethylene (PE) units. The cracker will be based on Technip technology and have a 1.05m tonne/year capacity.

Planned downstream production includes two high density polyethylene (HDPE) plants with capacities of 350,000 tonnes/year and 400,000 tonnes/year and one 300,000 tonne/year low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant. INEOS is providing the HDPE technology, while LyondellBasell is providing the LDPE technology.

Ethylene XXI will receive feedstock ethane from Pemex-Gas through a 20-year long-term contract, based on Mont Belvieu reference prices, Braskem said.

The project intends to meeting growing Mexican demand for PE, which now stands at 1.9m tonnes, Braskem said. Of that total, 70% is met by imports.

During the second quarter, earthmoving work entered its final stage, and construction started with the installation piles in the cracker area, Braskem said.

In addition, environmental licences were received for construction and operation, Braskem said.

By the end of this year, construction should start on the plants and pre-marketing should begin for Mexican clients, Braskem said.

For the Complexo Petroquimico do Rio de Janeiro (Comperj), the first phase of the front-end loading engineering process was completed in 2011, Braskem said.

The final details of the scope of the petrochemical project should be completed this year, Braskem said.

When completed, Comperj will have two refineries and several petrochemical units.

Braskem's proposed ethanol-based polypropylene (PP) project is still pending approval by the company's board of directors. The project could start up in the second half of 2013.

Under it, Braskem would produce at least 30,000 tonnes/year of propylene from sugarcane-based ethanol. The resin would then be produced at an existing PP plant.

Braskem also has proposed projects in less advanced phases in Peru, Venezuela and Bolivia.

Late in 2011, Peru-based refiner Petroperu and Braskem signed a memorandum of understanding to study the viability of a 1.2m tonne/year PE and ethylene complex that would use ethane as a feedstock.

Earlier this year, Braskem said it remained interested in a potential ethylene and PE project based on Bolivian gas.

In Venezuela, Braskem is focusing on a joint venture 300,000 tonne/year PP project in partnership with Venezuela’s state-owned Pequiven.

The project would be in the Paraguana region and 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 about feedstock availability.

As of April, 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.

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.

Meanwhile, Braskem has already started operations at its 200,000 tonne/year polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant in Marechal Deodoro, Alagoas. It will inaugurate the plant on 17 August.

Likewise, Braskem also started production at its 100,000 tonne/year butadiene (BD) plant at the Triunfo complex in Rio Grande do Sul.

Additional reporting by Anna Jagger, William Lemos and Leo Siqueira

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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