Borouge starts phase II expansion units
Abu Dhabi, June 8, 2010
United Arab Emirates (UAE) petrochemical firm Borouge has started operations at key units of the $5 billion, phase two expansion of its facility at Ruwais, a senior company executive said.
"We are actually, as I speak, in the middle of start-up. We basically are starting up the ethane cracker and the polyethylene plant," Roy Vardheim, the firm's chief operating officer, told a Meed conference.
"It's the world's biggest ethane cracker with 1.5 million tonnes (annually)." It will take between 12 to 18 months to ramp up production to full capacity, Vardheim told reporters later on the sidelines of the conference.
"It takes time. It's a very complex operation, (and) you need to ramp up slowly ... so you start with easier grades and then you graduallay transfer to the difficult grades," he said.
"We are also starting the biggest olefins conversion unit (of) 750,000 tonnes, converting ethylene to propylene," he added.
Borouge will also start two polypropylene plants, which are part of the second phase expansion project, in the next few months, he said.
The expansion will bring the company's total production capacity to 2 million tonnes per year, Vardheim said.
The firm had stabilised production at 600,000 tpy over the past few years, with Borouge 1, Vardheim said.
"The whole complex will start up in November 2010 ... so we are well on track and we are on time," he said.
Polyethylene capacity in the Middle East is set to double between 2009 and 2012 with 15 million tonnes of new capacity to be added by 2012.
Borouge is also setting up a $30 million compounds manufacturing facility in Shanghai, which will produce different compound products for use in the automotive industry. The firm is owned by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and Borealis, an arm of Austria's OMV. - Reuters