SOCAR starts up units, breaks ground on Sumgait project

State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) subsidiary Azerikimya Production Union (PU) has entered two units into operation at its ethylene and polyethylene (PE) plant in Sumgait, north of Baku.

The company commissioned a 87,600-tonne/year (tpy) unit for the desulfurization of liquefied gas and a 120,000-tpy installation for the hydrogenation of butylene-butadiene fractions, according to social media posts from Azerikimya PU and releases from Ilham Aliyev, president of Azerbaijan.

Aliyev added that Azerikimya also recently commissioned an isopropyl alcohol unit at the petrochemical plant, which produces 260,000 tpy of ethylene and PE.

Located in close proximity to and supplied with raw feedstock from SOCAR’s Heydar Aliyev (formerly New Baku) refinery at Baku, the plant also produces 136,000 tpy of propylene, 156,000 tpy of polypropylene (PP), 25,000 tpy of industrial isopropyl alcohol, and 1,750 tpy of absolute diisopropyl alcohol, the company said.

The state-owned operator also is moving forward with construction of Azerbaijan’s first PP plant, to be built in the Sumgait Chemical Industrial Park.

President Aliyev participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for the new plant, which will produce 180,000 tpy of PP and 120,000 tpy of high-density PE on Oct. 25, according to a release from Aliyev’s office.

Earlier in the year, SOCAR Polymer LLC let a €350-million engineering, construction, and procurement contract to subsidiaries of Maire Tecnimont SPA, Milan, to build the PP plant, which at the time, was due to be commissioned by late 2016 (OGJ Online, Apr. 7, 2015).

Startup of the new plant has now been rescheduled 2018, according to Aliyev’s office.

The PP plant, which SOCAR purchased from Varennes, Que., and had dismantled, reconditioned, and transported to Azerbaijan, will be equipped LyondellBasell’s Spheripol process technology.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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