OMV completes butadiene plant upgrade at Austrian refinery

OMV AG has completed the extension of a butadiene plant at its 203,900-b/d Schwechat refinery in Austria.

The completed expansion, which will increase the plant’s butadiene production capacity to 60,000 tonnes/year, began operating on May 2, OMV reported.

The $41 million plant upgrade, which began in September 2013 and ended in late April, was completed on time and below budget, the company said.

Upon initially announcing the project in 2013, OMV said it expected Schwechat’s expanded butadiene plant to begin production in June, according to a May 7, 2013, release from the company.

OMV also said it is progressing with construction of a butadiene plant at its 72,000-b/d refinery in Burghausen, Germany.

The company expects the Burghausen plant to be commissioned during second-quarter 2015.

Changing landscape

The investments into butadiene production at OMV’s refineries results from the changing landscape of the global refining business, in which petrochemical derivatives are playing an increasingly important role alongside traditional oil products such as diesel, heating oil, and fuels, according to Manfred Leitner, OMV executive board member responsible for the company’s refining and marketing division.

“This is why OMV continues to focus on petrochemicals in its refinery activities and invests in producing materials for strategic growth markets,” Leitner said, adding that the strategic approach is designed to increase the company’s earning potential as well as improve its competitive position.

OMV originally planned a total investment of more than $300 million for the Schwechat and Burghausen butadiene projects, which combined, will increase OMV’s overall butadiene production capacity by 140,000 tpy, according to the company’s annual report for 2013.

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