Total Revamps Antwerp Cracker to use Ethane

11.07.2017 -

As part of the first phase of a project to upgrade its refining and chemicals platform in Antwerp, Belgium, French energy and petrochemicals group Total has started up a new ethylene cracker that runs on ethane feedstock.

Total said its nearly $60 million investment included the revamp one of the platform’s two steam crackers to run on the light feed and the adaption of the site’s terminal to enable the import of 200,000 t of ethane per year by ship from Norway.

The French group said it has optimized supply by providing flexibility for the cracker to use either ethane, butane or naphtha as feedstock, so that advantaged feedstock could therefore account for more than 50% total input. Altogether, the Antwerp site can produce 1.1 million t/y of ethylene.

Another step in the wider upgrade of the Antwerp site includes construction of a new refining complex that will convert larger volumes of heavy fuel oil into light products as well as a unit to process refinery off-gas for use as petrochemical feedstock. This project is expected to be completed in the second half of this year.

The Antwerp project is part of Total’s strategy of upgrading its major integrated platforms and expanding its petrochemicals business to take advantage of low cost feedstock,” said Bernard Pinatel, president, Total Refining & Chemicals. The group recently launched two such projects at its large sites in the US and South Korea,”

Total’s Antwerp platform employs around 1,700 people and produces heavy fuel oil, gasoline, LPG, diesel and jet fuel as well as base chemicals such as olefins, C4 fractions and aromatic hydrocarbons.