APLA '13: Odebrecht may sponsor US cracker, Braskem to run it

18 November 2013 03:49  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--If Brazilian contractor Odebrecht decides to build a cracker and polyethylene (PE) complex in West Virginia, it would be the project's investor and sponsor, while Braskem would operate it and market the resin, an executive said on Sunday.

If Odebrecht goes through with the project, its structure would allow Braskem to maintain another major project – the Complexo Petroquimico do Rio de Janeiro (Comperj) in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro – as its priority.

Braskem will develop several chemical units, including a world-scale ethane cracker, at Comperj, while Brazilian state-owned energy producer Petrobras will build two refineries.

The Brazilian petrochemical company is now in talks with Petrobras regarding the scope of Comperj and the pricing for the feedstock, according to Luciano Guidolin, executive vice-president of Braskem’s polyolefins, Comperj and renewables unit.

Guidolin was speaking on the sidelines of the 33rd annual Latin American Petrochemical and Chemical Association (APLA) meeting.

The feedstock for Comperj would come from gas derived from the pre-salt oil fields offshore of Brazil, Guidolin said.

While no specific date has been set for the talks with Petrobras, Guidolin stressed that Comperj is still a priority for Braskem, even if the West Virginia project, also known as Ascent (Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise), moves forward.

That is because Odebrecht will sponsor and invest in the proposed project, Guidolin said, while Braskem's role would be limited to running the plant and marketing the PE.

Odebrecht plans to build a cracker that would use ethane derived from the Marcellus Shale region and three PE units at Ascent.

However, whether the Ascent project goes through will depend on factors, including securing a long-term ethane supply agreement as well as financing, regulatory approval and government support.

Shell is also considering the development of a shale gas and ethylene derivatives complex that would use ethane from Marcellus Shale.

The APLA conference runs from 16-18 November.

($1 = €0.74)

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By: Al Greenwood
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