Unipetrol plans capacity expansion at Litvinov petrochemical complex

Unipetrol AS has let a contract to a division of Technip, Paris, to build a grassroots polyethylene (PE) production unit at its Chempark Zaluzi petrochemical complex in Litvinov, Czech Republic.

As part of the €213-million contract, Technip Italy SPA will deliver engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services for the unit, PE3, which will have a capacity to produce 270,000 tonnes/year of high-density PE (HDPE), Unipetrol said.

Total capital expenditures for the entire PE3 project, including already purchased technology licenses and works to be performed by other contractors, will amount to about 8.5 billion koruna ($355 million), which is to be the biggest investment to date in the history Czech petrochemical industry, the company said.

Designed to replace the complex’s existing 120,000-tpy PE1 unit, the two-line PE3 unit will join the remaining 200,000-tpy PE2 unit to boost Unipetrol’s overall HDPE production at the site to 470,000 tpy from its current 320,000 tpy.

In addition to increased production safety and reliability, PE3 also will enable higher utilization of the complex’s steam cracker, which can produce 544,000 tpy of ethylene feedstock for the more-profitable HDPE units as global demand for basic ethylene continues to decline, Unipetrol said.

Preconstruction activities for the unit already are under way at the site, and Technip will begin official construction during second-quarter 2016.

Due for mechanical completion during first-quarter 2018, PE3 is scheduled for start-up in mid-2018, Unipetrol said.

The PE3 project comes as part of Unipetrol’s 2013-17 group strategy, the core of which entails further integration of the company’s refining and petrochemical businesses, the operator said.

Unipetrol previously selected Ineos Technologies Ltd. to provide its proprietary Innovene S slurry technology, which is used to produce mono and bimodal HDPE, for the PE3 unit, Ineos said.

Unipetrol’s announcement of the PE3 project comes amid the ongoing shutdown of the Litvinov complex’s PE1, PE2, and steam cracking units following a mid-August explosion and ensuing fire at the site (OGJ Online, Sept. 9, 2015; Aug. 26, 2015; Aug. 14, 2015).

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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