GPCA ’17: Borouge eyes polymer compounding expansion in China

28 November 2017 13:19 Source:ICIS News

DUBAI (ICIS)--Borouge is planning to increase its Chinese polymer compounding capacity to meet the growing needs of advanced polymers, especially from the automotive sector, the CEO at Borouge's Marketing & Sales Company said on Tuesday.

“Automotive at the moment is a very exciting industry because it is evolving so rapidly,” Wim Roels told ICIS on the sidelines of 12th Annual Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association (GPCA) Forum in Dubai, UAE.

“[You have] development of E [electric] vehicles and you have development of self-driving cars. And these two changed elements will create new opportunities for plastics. New opportunities for the materials we make like polyolefins, polypropylene, and in all kinds of its diverse forms.

“That is why we decided to expand our capacity [in China]… To make sure that we are part of the new way,” Roels added.

The company plans to raise its current capacity of 90,000 tonnes/year of polymer compounding to 125,000 tonnes/year by 2020.

In a separate statement, Borouge said that the expansion project has entered its front end engineering and design (FEED) phase which includes two additional compounding lines.

The plant initially commenced operations in 2010, with an annual capacity of 50,000 tonnes/year before it was expanded to 90,000 tonnes/year at end of 2015 with the addition of two new production lines, according to the statement.

Roels stressed it was part of the transformation strategy of the company under which it was reviewing its brand and image, to align the company with its future evolution.

Borouge recently announced a new tag line – Inspiring Tomorrow – and Roels said that embodies what the company stood for.

“As a company we believe it is not about shipping products. It is being part of the industry. We are serving the infrastructure; we are serving power industry or energy industry, automotive, health care, agriculture,” added Roels, pictured right.

“We want to and we try to be part of different industries to understand what everybody in that value chain requires and how we can from our side contribute in making it better, more sustainable and more profitable.”

Roels cited changes in the automotive industry especially light weighting of vehicles to save on energy consumption as one example of where more demand for advanced polymers will come.

“If you have self-driving vehicles, why do you need a steering wheel? Why do you need a dashboard? Why do you need a windshield? Actually the whole design of the car can fundamentally change and probably will change,” said Roels, pictured right.

Borouge is a joint venture (JV) between the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Austria-based Borealis, a leading provider of chemical and innovative plastics solutions.

The GPCA Annual Forum runs 27-29 November in Dubai.

Clarification: Re-casts job title, company's division in introduction

Top picture: Borouge petrochemical complex in Abu Dhabi
Pictures source: Borouge 

Interview article by Tahir Ikram

By Tahir Ikram