Braskem achieves first production at Mexican petchem project

Braskem Idesa SAPI, a 75-25 joint venture of Braskem SA, Sao Paulo, and Groupo Idesa SA de CV, Mexico City, has started production of polyethylene (PE) at the Etileno XXI petrochemical complex in the Coatzacoalcos-Nanchital region of the Mexican state of Veracruz (OGJ, July 7, 2014, p. 90; July 1, 2013, p. 90).

The complex’s first high-density PE (HDPE) plant produced its initial batch of HDPE on Apr. 6, Braskem said.

Startup of the HDPE unit comes as part of the gradual commissioning process for the complex, which began in 2015 (OGJ Online, June 11, 2015).

In December 2015, Braskem Idesa entered the complex’s utility plants (electricity, water, and steam) into operation, with startup of the 1.05 million-tonne/year ethylene cracker initiated in March 2016, the JV said.

Braskem said it expects to commission the remaining two PE plants—including another HDPE unit as well as a low-density PE (LDPE) unit—before the end of April and achieve the complex’s overall PE production capacity of 1.05 million tpy within the coming months.

The $5.2-billion Etileno XXI project, which began precommissioning and testing of equipment and systems in early 2015 (OGJ Online, May 12, 2015), receives 66,000 b/d of ethane under a 20-year supply agreement with state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos to feed the complex’s cracker (OGJ, July 4, 2011, p. 100).

In addition to the ethylene cracker, the complex includes the following installations:

• Two HDPE plants with capacities of 400,000 tpy and 350,000 tpy, respectively.

• A 300,000-tpy LDPE plant (OGJ Online, Mar. 31, 2011).

• Storage, waste treatment, and utilities, including a 150-Mw combined-cycle power and steam cogeneration plant.

• A logistics platform for shipment of 1 million tpy of polyethylene via rail, truck, or bagged.

• Administrative, maintenance, control room, and other buildings (OGJ Online, Oct. 5, 2012).

Braskem, a subsidiary of Odebrecht SA, said Etileno XXI aligns with the company’s strategy to expand operations in the Americas as well as increase its access to more competitively priced North American gas-based feedstock supplies.

Contact Robert Brelsford at

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