Aramco, Sumitomo Chemical sign licensing agreement for Axens’ AFA technology

Saudi Aramco Technologies Company and Sumitomo Chemical Company, Limited, have formed a technology partnership with Axens in support of Axens’ AlphaButol licensed process to enhance 1-butene production by using the AFA (anti-fouling agent) technology. The AFA technology, jointly developed by Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical, works in conjunction with Axens’ catalyst system to substantially reduce undesired polymeric fouling in 1-butene units. Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical have granted Axens the right to sublicense this beneficial technology to existing and prospective licensed units of AlphaButol.

Rabigh Refining & Petrochemical Company, an affiliate of Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical, and a licensee of AlphaButol, is the first to benefit from this technology. The AFA technology was effective in broad ranges of industrially relevant operating windows and duration in its 1-butene production units. “The AFA has demonstrated a real breakthrough in unit operation profitability, via higher production rates and reduced maintenance costs, due to lower levels of fouling. Removability of the fouling has also been improved with a substantially easier way to clean the unit, leading to shorter maintenance periods,” said Mohammed A. Basaffar, Section Head of Polymer section of the Process Engineering Department in Rabigh Refining & Petrochemical Company.

"We are very pleased that Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical have selected Axens as their partner, and we are looking forward to contributing to the success of AFA technology with our expertise in this area. We are glad to assist in achieving this milestone, which is a stepping stone to further commercialization of the AlphaButol technology in the coming years," said Axens’ Chairman and CEO Jean Sentenac.

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