Petkim plans hail better future for Turkey petrochemicals

With a stable and fast-growing economy which held up well during the downturn, Turkey should already have a burgeoning chemical sector. But the country has been running a huge polymer deficit for many years thanks to decades of underinvestment in the country’s national champion, Petkim. 

But since successful privatization, Petkim has made bold plans to invest in an oil refinery and petrochemicals complex, “Petkim Peninsula”

And, according to ICIS news, Petkim achieved an annual production record in 2010 with output climbing above 3m tonnes for the first time in its 45-year history. Production amounted to approximately 3.2m tonnes compared to 2.9m tonnes in 2009, with the company last year achieving a plant utilisation capacity of 98%.

The figures were in line with Petkim’s initial progress in creating a $5bn (€3.75bn) petrochemical ‘super site’ by 2015 at Aliaga, near Izmir, on an Aegean coast peninsula, said Petkim CEO Kenan Yavuz.

“[Under Petkim majority shareholder] Socar & Turcas, we remain focused on a refinery-petrochemical integration on the ‘Petkim peninsula’. We have plans at least to double production capacity of Petkim [by 2018], to grow in the logistics area, become the largest power producer in the region, and to adopt the petrochemical production cluster model, …transforming Petkim into a global petrochemicals and energy super site,” Yavuz said.

Petkim has engaged Singapore-based consultants Jurong International to help create the Aegean petrochemical hub, with the intention of developing a blueprint similar to that behind the Jurong Island industrial zone in Singapore.

In June last year, Petkim announced it had signed a deal with Foster Wheeler for the front-end engineering design of a $4bn, 10m tonne/year refinery that would produce feedstock for a new 800,000 tonnes/year ethylene cracker that is central to the project.

Construction on the refinery should begin in the first half of this year, with completion targeted for mid-2014, Yavuz said.

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