Borouge 4 will be the company’s flagship polymers plant and should more than double annual production by 2025-2030, Borouge CEO Ahmed Omar Abdulla said on 28 November.
“With Borouge 4 we are investing a lot of money, and will come with a new technology, with new products and new ways of making those products,” Abdulla told ICIS on the sidelines of the 12th Annual Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) Forum in Dubai.
Announced in July, the Borouge 4 complex aims to expand by 2023 production of polymers from the current 4.5m tonnes/year to 10m tonnes/year at the joint venture’s United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi complex. The expansion will be integrated with the nearby Takreer refinery.
“Borouge 4 is going to take us from 4.5m tonnes/year production today to more than doubling this volume by 2025, and we expect this project to move ahead after we finish our pre-feasibility studies and pre-[front-end engineering and design, or FEED] studies, which are on now.”
According to Abdulla, the pre-FEED study is in an advanced stage. “Once it is over, we go for engineering, procurement and construction. And from there I think we are going to have a state-of-the-art, fully-integrated plant, which will be efficient and diversified in its products.”
The company is planning to use naphtha cracking in Borouge 4 because of in-house availability of the feedstock. “We found it is a more smart to go for the liquid which we used to export from our ADNOC company. A big amount of that naphtha will be cracked, and a lot of new products will come from it,” he added.
Abdulla did not mention the investment involved in Borouge 4, but past reports have put it at $10bn. Borouge 4 will be integrated with ADNOC’s nearby Takreer refinery. Borouge 3, the last phase of expansion at the complex, was completed in 2016.
BOROUGE EYES COMPOUNDING
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 of the company’s sales and marketing division said on 28 November. “Automotive at the moment is a very exciting industry because it is evolving so rapidly,” Wim Roels told ICIS on the sidelines of GPCA.
“[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.
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 stands 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.
“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.
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 ran from 27-29 November in Dubai.