Turkmenistan to expand gas processing, petchem production

Turkmenistan is planning to build a series of plants designed to expand natural gas processing and petrochemical production in a move to diversify and increase the country’s share of exports to global markets.

Turkmen and Japanese experts have prepared a plan to construct 10 grassroots industrial plants based on advanced technologies for gas processing for production of 17 products, including gasoline, diesel, kerosine, polypropylene, polyethylene, caustic soda, PVC, acrylic fiber, and other gas-chemical products, Turkmenistan’s Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources (MOMR) said.

Precise breakdowns of the plants or their specific capacities, however, were not disclosed.

The new plants will be built in Kiyanly, Balkan Province; Dashoguz Province; at the Turkmenbashi Complex of Oil Refineries (TCOR); and within the framework of the third-stage development of the Galkynysh gas field in Mary Province, according to MOMR.

Despite Turkmenistan’s large reserves of gas, the work to diversify hydrocarbon exports from those of raw materials to finished products will not be completed until after implementation of the long-awaited Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, said Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.

Turkmenistan’s announcement follows Afghanistan’s recent invitation for private investment in the TAPI project, a proposed 1,800-km pipeline that would transport gas from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to Pakistan and India still under development after more than 20 years (OGJ Online, Nov. 14, 2014; June 5, 2014; OGJ, Mar. 4, 2014, p. 82).

In an effort generate further investment opportunities in the proposed pipeline, Afghanistan’s Minister of Mines and Petroleum (MOMP) Daud Shah Saba met with Afghan construction companies earlier in the month, asking them to collaborate and invest in the regional project, MOMP said.

Assured complete support from Afghanistan’s government should they participate, the construction companies agreed to do “their best for effective investment” in the gas pipeline project, MOMP said.

Construction works and project implementation for TAPI are scheduled to begin this December in the gas field of Turkmenistan before continuing on into Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, MOMP said.

In August, state-owned TurkmenGaz was selected to lead the consortium of national governments planning to build, own, and operate the TAPI gas pipeline, which is to have capacity to carry 90 MMscfd of Turkmen gas (OGJ Online, Aug. 6, 2015).

Turkmen project updates

With a project involving construction of the ELDAD-HT-7 crude oil distillation units now nearing completion, crude oil processing capacity at TCOR is scheduled to increase to 10.5 million tonnes/year (tpy) in the near future, Berdimuhamedov told Turkmen leaders on Sept. 10, without disclosing further details on the project.

Construction works on high-octane gasoline production plants and a polypropylene-film production plant at TCOR also are nearly completed, Berdimuhamedov said, adding that additional clean-fuel projects at the complex remain under way.

Earlier this year, Turkmenistan let contracts to a consortium led by South Korean firms Hyundai Engineering Co. Ltd. and LG International Corp. for work related to the modernization TCOR (OGJ Online, Apr. 14, 2015).

As part of the $940-million refinery modernization project, the consortium was contracted to design and build installations for the removal of sulfur from gasoline and diesel produced at the complex.

The sulfur-removal units, which will use hydrogen sourced from the refining complex’s existing delayed coking and catalytic cracking units, are due to be completed in 42 months.

Construction also continues to progress on a gas chemical complex in Turkmenbashi that will use natural gas sourced from shelf of the Caspian Sea to produce 400,000 tpy of ethylene, high-density polyethylene, and 80,000 tpy of polypropylene (OGJ Online, May 12, 2014).

A gas-to-liquids plan also remains under construction in Ovadan-Depe near Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (OGJ Online, Aug. 26, 2014).

The plant, which is based on proprietary technology of Haldor Topsoe of Denmark, will convert 1.782 billion cu m/year of natural gas into 600,000 tpy of A-92 gasoline that meets Euro-5 quality standards.

The GTL plant remains on schedule for start-up in 2018, Berdimuhamedov said.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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