Petronas and Evonik to partner in RAPID project

Malaysian petroleum firm Petronas and Germany-based chemicals supplier Evonik Industries have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to jointly embark on the development of production facilities of speciality chemicals within Petronas’s Refinery & Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project in Pengerang, Johor. This news follows an earlier announcement that Petronas would not partner with BASF to produce other speciality chemicals in the same project.

Under the LOI, Petronas and Evonik will endeavour to form a partnership to jointly own, develop, construct and operate facilities for the production of hydrogen peroxide, C4 co-monomer and oxo-products within RAPID.

The plants are expected to have the capacity to produce 250,000 tonnes of hydrogen peroxide, 220,000 tonnes of isononanol (INA) and 110,000 tonnes of 1-butene annually. The hydrogen peroxide will be used on site to produce propylene oxide by the licensed, eco-friendly HPPO process Evonik had jointly developed with ThyssenKrupp Uhde. These projects are expected to come on stream in 2016.

The partnership is expected to strengthen Petronas’s position as a key downstream petrochemical player in the region. Evonik is one of the world's largest producers of hydrogen peroxide and C4-based products with production facilities in Europe, North America, South America, New Zealand, Asia, South Africa and Indonesia.

Hydrogen peroxide is used as a bleaching agent in the paper and textile industries and for eco-friendly oxidation and disinfection. The oxo-alcohol INA is a precursor of the plasticiser DINP (diisononyl phthalate), which is used in soft PVC production. The most important markets and end applications are films, wallpapers, and floorings, in addition to cables and automotive applications. 1-butene is used as a co-monomer for production of polyethylene. The most important growth regions for 1-butene are China, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

In the BASF/Petronas jv that was called off, BASF was to have held 60% and Petronas 40%. The jv was expected to produce isononanol, highly reactive polyisobutylene, nonionic surfactants, methanesulfonic acid, and precursor materials. BASF and Petronas said they were not able to come to an agreement on the terms and conditions for the implementation of the project.

Petronas has also signed Heads of Agreements with three other companies within the RAPID project. These include Italy-based Versalis to partner in an elastomers project while Itochu (Japan) and PTT Global Chemical (Thailand) are planning two separate jvs with Petronas to produce high value-added downstream chemicals.


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