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Petrobas president details Brazilian expansion plans for PE, PP and PET

Houston—The same week the project received an environmental license and one week before soil grading begins, Jose Lima, president Petrobas Quimica SA, offered details on the $8.5 billion Rio de Janeiro Petrochemical Complex (COMPERJ), which will use a patented fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) process to convert heavy Brazilian crude oil directly into petrochemical feedstocks like ethylene and propylene, with polyolefins capacity planned as well. Addressing attendees of Chemical Market Associates Inc.’s (CMAI; Houston) World Petrochemical Conference (March 25-27; Hilton Americas, Houston), Lima said by using Marlim heavy crude from Brazil’s Campos Basin, Brazil will not have to import naphtha for the production of chemicals and resins. Lima says Brazil currently must import 35% of the petrochemicals it needs, but the new operation located in the state of Rio de Janeiro at Itaborai will be free of that constraint.
Lima said when the operation commences production in the 2012-2013 time frame, it will process 150,000 barrels/day of Brazilian crude into 800,000 tonnes/yr of high-density and low-density polyethylene; 850,000 tonnes/yr of polypropylene; and 600,000 tonnes/yr of polyethylene terephthalate.
In related Brazilian news, Braskem has used biobutene to create a 100% biobased linear polyethylene (PE) suitable for film to join the biobased high-density PE it launched last year. The company says this is a first for the market and has applied for a patent on the technology, which besides sugarcane ethylene also required a new route to obtain butene at high yield from a renewable raw material.
Braskem used its Technology and Innovation Center, which has technological assets worth R$330 million and eight pilot plants, to develop the material. Braskem is currently setting up an industrial unit to produce green ethylene to supply its existing PE units, with a planned capacity of 200,000 tons/yr and a projected launch in 2010.—[email protected]
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