Pembina awards EPC for PP plant, U.S. sees $4.2 billion in recycling investment, Pequiven works on fertilizers

News Briefs

Pemex petrochemical production declined in 2019. Image shows Mexican state oil company CEO Octavio Romero. The background image is of Lazaro Cardenas, who nationalized hydrocarbon assets in 1938.

Canada’s Pembina awards EPC contract for PP plant

Pembina Pipeline, which is building a propane dehydrogenator (PDH) and polypropylene (PP) complex in partnership with Kuwait’s Petrochemical Industries Co. in Canada, said on Feb. 27, 2020 it awarded a second EPC contract for the complex.

CKPC, as the joint venture is known, entered into a reimbursable engineering and procurement services contract (EPC) with TR Canada for the PP plant. TR is part of Spain-based Tecnicas Reunidas.

The share of Pembina in the venture project remains at C$2.7 billion, more than half the total estimated cost of C$4.5 billion of the equal venture as it will get to own related pipeline infrastructure built around the project.

CKPC, has said that the complex under construction near Edmonton, Calgary, will enter service in the second half of 2023.

Pembina awarded in January 2020 an EPC contract for the PDH part of the plant to Fluor. At that time it announced budget and timeline changes.

InterPipeline, another Canadian pipeline company that is also building a PDH/PP complex near Edmonton, separately reported on Feb. 20 “completion of the maintenance and administration buildings, (…) locomotive storage building and a start to the construction of the rail yard.”

InterPipeline remains on schedule for the PDH part to be mechanically complete by the end of 2020 and the PP plant by the third quarter of 2021 with startup by the end of that year.

Mexico’s Pemex petrochemical production declines

Mexican state oil company Pemex said in its fourth quarter earnings report filed on Feb . 27 that its full year 2019 petrochemical production was 1,842,000 tonnes, a 17% on-year decline.

Methanol production at the Independencia petrochemical complex was 141,000 tonnes, 7,000 tonnes less than in 2018 because of an excess of finished inventories, it said. Pemex didn't provide more detail of annual declines in its earnings discussion.

However, the company said that production of some petrochemicals increased.

Production of aromatics and derivatives at the La Cangrejera complex was 202,000 tonnes, or 96,000 tonnes more than in 2018 after officials managed to stabilize operations, Pemex said.

A Jan. 7, 2020 report in Manufactura, a Mexican publication, said that the company's November 2019 petrochemical production was 343,274 tonnes, the lowest monthly level since 1990.

ACC says investment in recycling at $4.2 billion in past 18 months

The American Chemistry Council said on March 4 that in the 18-month period preceding March 2020 United States companies invested as much as $4.2 billion in “mechanical and advanced plastic recycling”.

Keith Christman, the ACC’s managing director of plastics markets, said before a congressional subcommittee in Washington D.C. that the investment has resulted in “potential to convert 6 billion pounds of plastics into new products.”

Plastic producers are promoting an initiative to reuse, recycle or recover all plastic packaging in the United States by 2040, and to make all plastic packaging recyclable by 2030.

ACC estimates that the United States could support up to 260 advanced recycling facilities. This would create 39,000 jobs and nearly $10 billion worth of economic activity.

Venezuela’s Pequiven works to improve supply of fertilizers

Venezuelan state owned petrochemical producer Pequiven said on Feb. 20, 2020 it had set up a group based at the Hugo Chavez Petrochemical Complex that will work to help secure fertilizer supplies to national farmers after supply problems in the past.

Officials in charge of fertilizer production are working toward improvement so that fertilizer supplies would be adequate this year, it said. It will release results of the efforts by June, it said.

Pequiven is trying out new formulas for products like urea, and ammonium sulfate.

The company said it looks forward to close interaction with producers “to make trials with the mixtures and formulas of the new products,” it added.

in 2019 Pequiven tried to import 22,000 tonnes of potassium chloride but couldn’t get it "due to an economic blockade," the press release said. This kept the company from producing NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) formulas, it added.

The Hugo Chavez petrochemical complex is located in Moron, state of Carabobo, about 200 kilometers east of Caracas.

The U.S. has imposed sanctions against Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA, government and central bank as well as against individuals connected with the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

The U.S. has justified the sanctions as pressure related to antidemocratic actions, human rights abuses and corruption that have led millions of people to flee the country. Maduro refers to the sanctions as economic warfare. 

Mexico’s Orbia to focus efforts in high-margin products

Mexico’s Orbia, a producer of petrochemical products like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) formerly known as Mexichem, said on Feb. 26 it will concentrate in 2020 on products that offer higher margins.

Daniel Martinez-Valle, CEO of Orbia Advance Corporation, said that 2019 “marked the culmination of a multi-year acquisition strategy that dramatically increased our global footprint and market penetration.”

Orbia will “focus on markets, products and solutions that will yield higher margins across our key verticals” in 2020.

In 2019 overall revenue decreased to $7 billion, a 3% on-year decline, mainly due to lower revenue in the Vestolit and Wavin businesses, it said.

The company said in January it was analyzing a possible sale of its vinyl business, which includes Germany-based Vestolit.

By Petrochemical Update