Expansion Plan for Borouge Sealed

18.07.2017 -

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Vienna-based olefins, polyolefins and fertilizer producer Borealis have signed a framework agreement to expand petrochemicals output at their 60:40 Borouge joint venture complex at Ruwais in the United Arab Emirates.

The agreement formalizes plans outlined in the emirate’s "Strategy 2030" announced late last year, which foresees petchems output capability rising from 4.5 million t/y to 11.4 million t/y by to 2025.  It also calls for the two companies to further review the extension of the jv beyond its first 30-year lifetime.

The partners in the UAE-based jv are now proceeding to the pre-feed (front-end engineering) stage of the envisaged section Borouge 4, which will lift total capacity at the vast complex to around 6 million t/y by 2023.The feed stage is expected to begin by the end of 2018.

At the heart of the complex, to be integrated with ADNOC’s Takreer refinery currently under construction, will be a large mixed-feed cracker. This will utilize feedstock available in Abu Dhabi and complement Borouge’s existing ethane-based existing crackers.

Downstream, facilities are planned to include production units for both polyolefins (PE and PP) and non-polyolefin products such as aromatics. The companies also have announced they will soon begin inviting engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) bids from contractors to build an additional polypropylene plant, PP5.

The new plant based on the Borealis “Borstar” process will be integrated into the third Borouge expansion phase, which was completed earlier this year. The 500,000 t/y facility will process surplus propylene from the Takreer refinery’s propane dehydration (PDH) unit. With the new capacity, Borouge is expected to be able to produce nearly 2.4 million t/y of PP.

Sultan Jaber, group CEO of ADNOC, said the Middle East petrochemical giant is “committed to realizing downstream growth and stretching the value from every barrel of oil we produce.”

The Borouge 4 complex and PP plant, Jaber added, will allow the company to grow its current petrochemical production to almost 10 million t/y. This will enable it to take advantage of market opportunities it has identified, particularly in Asia, where the high-grade polymer market is set to double by 2040.

ADNOC recently announced a new business model in which it will seek additional partnerships and co-investors in oil, gas, refining and petrochemicals. To facilitate the UAE’s ambitious expansion goals, the company said it intends to bring in partners and investment to improve integration and realize synergies with its upstream and midstream assets.

Commenting on the latest Borouge expansion, Borealis CEO Mark Garrett said “global demand for polyolefin products is being driven by the growth in emerging economies.” Both of the partners, he said, “are determined to take advantage of the Borstar technology, a world-leading product portfolio and a favorable geographic location at the pivot point between east and west, to capitalize on the markets of steepest growth in Asia.”

The Borouge joint venture was established in 1998, and production has successively been ramped up with the start-up of the stage 1, 2 and 3 complexes. Taken altogether, Borouge is the world’s largest integrated polyolefins complex. Borealis is majority owned by International Petrochemical Investment Company (IPIC) of Abu Dhabi.