March 2021

Special Focus: Petrochemical Technology

How high can polyethylene and polypropylene plant capacities rise?

Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) plants are the popular downstream derivatives of ethylene crackers or petrochemical fluidized catalytic cracking (petro-FCC).

Divey, J. D., Polyolefins Technology Consultant

Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) plants are the popular downstream derivatives of ethylene crackers or petrochemical fluidized catalytic cracking (petro-FCC). Refineries have been diversifying into petrochemicals to improve upon the gross refining margin (GRM) and flexibility in product mix. This has led to the evolution of the configuration of integrated refinery and petrochemicals complexes. Building such large complexes requires high CAPEX, so a rise in the demand to optimize cost economics is also seen. Consequently, ethylene cracker plants with capacities exceeding 1 MMtpy of ethylene have become the norm. Ethylene plant capacities have soared close to 2 MMtpy, which was unthin

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