Ethylene is the bell-weather petrochemical and the feedstock for many petrochemicals and polymers. The size of ethylene facilities has increased since the first ethane crackers were constructed in the 1950s. With advances in cracking technology, larger ethylene complexes were possible, now reaching over 1 million tpy (1 MMtpy) of ethylene capacity.
Where is, and who operates, the largest ethylene complex? Answer: Borouge, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC) and Borealis, operates the largest ethane cracker with 1.5 MMtpy of ethylene capacity.
Central to Borouges operations is the petrochemical production complex in Ruwais, about 250 km west of Abu Dhabi City in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Borouge invested US$1.2 billion to build the first petrochemical facility in the Middle East. In 2001, Borouge started production with a total manufacturing capacity of only 450,000 tpy (450 Mtpy) of polyethylene (PE). By 2005, the complex consisted of an ethylene cracker (EU1) built by the alliance of Bechtel and Linde. Additionally, two Borstar bimodal PE units were constructed by Tecnimont (PE1/PE2), each capable of producing 300 Mtpy of bimodal PE.
In 2010, under the project name of Borouge 2, Borouge tripled the polyolefins manufacturing capacity of this complex. The approximately $5 billion investment enabled Borouge to produce a total of 2 MMtpy of Borstar polyolefins. This project included an additional ethane cracker (EU2), a third PE unit, an olefins conversion unit for the conversion of ethylene to propylene, and two new polypropylene (PP) units, spearheading the companys entrance into PP production.
The 1.5-MMtpy ethane cracker (EU2) was built by the Linde Group at a cost of $1.3 billion, and it is considered to be the largest in the world, as shown in Fig. 1. With the first and second ethane crackers put into production, Borouge can now produce 2.1 MMtpy of ethylene.
Fig. 1. Night view of Borouge 2, the worlds
largest ethane cracker.
Borouge is expanding its petrochemical plant at Ruwais by 2.5 MMtpy to a total annual capacity of 4.5 MMton by the end of 2013, and the new cracker will be operational by mid-2014. The expansion project, entitled Borouge 3, is progressing safely as planned with approximately 60% of its construction completed as of March 2012.
The project includes an ethane cracker (EU3), two PE units and two PP units, as well as a low-density PE (LDPE) unit. Bechtel is providing management support for this construction project. The projects new (and third for Borouge) ethane cracker will produce 1.5 MMtpy of ethylene and is being built by the Linde Group at a contract value of $1.075 billion.
The unique Borstar technology that Borouge uses in its production enables the company to provide a differentiated range of PE and PP innovative plastics solutions for infrastructure applications (including pipe systems, and power and communication cables), automotive components and advanced packaging.
Borouge is a leading provider of innovative, value creating plastics solutions; it is a groundbreaking international partnership at the forefront of the next generation of plastics innovation. With its base in the UAE and its Marketing & Sales head office in Singapore, Borouge employs approximately 1,700 people representing more than 40 nationalities and serving customers in more than 50 countries across the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Indian sub-continent and Africa.
Borouge is also investing in plants and logistics hubs in Asia and in an Innovation Centre in Abu Dhabi. Focused on its company mission, Value Creation through Innovation, Borouge ensures that its customers throughout the value chain, around the world, can always rely on superior products and security of supply. Borouge is committed to the principles of Responsible Care, and, together with Borealis, it proactively contributes toward addressing the worlds water and sanitation challenges through its Water for the World initiative. HP