APLA '12: Ecopetrol mulls revision of Cartagena PE project

13 November 2012 16:41  [Source: ICIS news]

RIO DE JANEIRO (ICIS)--Colombia-based Ecopetrol could scale down its polyethylene (PE) project in Cartagena because of the impact of US shale gas, executives said on Tuesday.

US shale gas has made US petrochemical and polymers production more competitive because of cheap ethane feedstock.

"We had initially planned on 1m tonnes/year of PE but because of US shale gas, we are evaluating lower capacity of around 250,000 tonnes/year," said Fernando Cubillos Guzman, marketing and strategy leader for petrochemical and industrial products. 

He spoke on the sidelines of the Latin American Petrochemical Association annual meeting.

The naphtha cracker is on track to be completed by early 2014, with the ethylene feeding into PE production and propylene for polypropylene (PP) production at subsidiary Propilco at the site, he said.

Ecopetrol is also planning to build a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant for the production of propylene feedstock in Cartagena by mid-2016, an official said in August.

Propilco has 500,000 tonnes/year of PP capacity, but is importing two-thirds of its propylene needs from the US, said Cubillos Guzman.

"We hope to get enough propylene to not have to import from the US," he said.

Additional reporting by Al Greenwood

By: Joseph Chang
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