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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 26 May 2018

Abu Dhabi to increase petrochemical production capacity beyond current targets

Borouge operates the world's largest integrated polyolefins complex in the UAE

Borouge, which produces about 4.5 million tonnes of polyolefins and olefins, targets new expansion in Africa, according to CEO Ahmed Omar Abdulla. Courtesy: Borouge
Borouge, which produces about 4.5 million tonnes of polyolefins and olefins, targets new expansion in Africa, according to CEO Ahmed Omar Abdulla. Courtesy: Borouge

Abu Dhabi is set to increase its petrochemicals production capacity beyond current targeted levels as Borouge - its biggest chemicals producer - looks at overseas expansion.

“Adnoc [Abu Dhabi National Oil Company] plan for more than 11.4 million tonnes even now and we’re expanding now in line with this vision of having more valuable downstream and we’re going to more than double our production,” Borouge chief executive Ahmed Omar Abdulla told The National in an interview.

"We’re producing around 4.5 million tonnes of polyolefins and olefins and by 2025, we’re going to more than double it. And this complements Abu Dhabi vision in expanding the downstream,” he said.

Borouge, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi state-owned Adnoc and Austrian chemicals firm Borealis operates the world’s largest integrated polyolefins complex at Ruwais. The facility currently produces 4.5 million tonnes annually of polyolefins and non-polyolefins produced through feedstock derived from the 400,000 barrel-a-day Ruwais refinery in Abu Dhabi.

In July, Adnoc and Borealis said they plan to build a polypropylene-5 (PP5) plant with a production capacity of 600,000 tonnes a year at Ruwais to be integrated with the existing scheme. The companies also plan to develop a new facility called Borouge 4, which is set to increase current production capacity to 11.4 million tonnes annually.

Last November Adnoc said it plans to triple the UAE’s production capacity from 4.5 million tonnes to 11.4 million tonnes by 2025.

Borouge’s upcoming facility will meet this target almost entirely with output expected to include polyolefin products such as polyethylene and polypropylene as well as non-polyolefin products such as benzene and butadiene. The compounds find varied uses in packaging, plastics and acrylics industries.

“We’re going for some more specialty products to add value to the economy and differentiation in the quality also and value to the customer. This will be [from the] production from Borouge 4 and PP5. Borouge 4 is in the pre-FEED [Front-end Engineering and Design] stage now, while PP5 is under engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) phase,” Mr Abdulla said.

The pre-design phase will conclude in seven to nine months. Mr Abdulla declined to comment on the consultants undertaking pre-FEED on the new facility.

“Once the pre-FEED is over, we have to go for FEED and EPC and the time frame, it could be totally functional by 2025 in line with Abu Dhabi’s targets,” he added.

Internationally, Borouge is targeting expansion of a compounding manufacturing plant in China. The plant located at Fengxian is set to reach manufacturing capacity of 125,000 tonnes from the current 90,000 tonnes by 2020.

“Finished materials from our polyolefins, such as bumpers, dashboards for cars will be ready for end-consumers. It’s mainly in the mobility area. The plant has been completed and is functioning now. It used to be around 50,000 tonnes, that we’ve expanded into 90,000 tonnes. But now we’re again looking at further expansion of 125,000 tonnes a year by 2020,” Mr Abdulla said.