New mPE plant to rise for Repsol

Spain-based integrated global energy company, Repsol, is starting construction of its new manufacturing unit for metallocene linear polyethylene by June at its Tarragona Petrochemical Complex. This is a low density polyethylene with excellent optical properties (gloss and transparency) as well as mechanical properties (high flexibility and high resistance to puncture, tear and low temperature) that make its use especially suitable in films for packaging applications.

This will be the first plant to produce this material outside the US with Chevron Phillips Chemical’s innovative technology, as a result of the technology licensing agreement reached between both companies in 2014.

Reposl says that this new investment falls under the 2014 – 2016 set of measures intended to enhance the company’s competitive position. Thus, this new metallocene polyethylene (mPE) plant is in line with the company’s strategy to focus on differentiated products that may enable Repsol, as European producer, to compete against high density polyethylene (HDPE) imports from areas with access to lower-cost raw materials and that in 2014 for HDPE accounted for over 40% of consumption in Spain.

Construction will entail a three months shutdown of Repsol’s HDPE plant in Tarragona, as the manufacture of both products share critical facilities and equipment. However, to avoid three continuous months without production, Repsol has planned to break this stop into two independent month and a half periods.

As the shutdown was already planned in late 2014, in order to meet its contractual commitments and anticipating historical average consumption of regular customers, Repsol has already sent all its customers confirmation of individual HDPE volume that it plans to supply to each of them. For this reason, despite the difficult times Europe faces regarding HDPE offer, the company does not intend to declare Force Majeure.

Partially constructing the mPE plant while the HDPE plant remains operational, Repsol's Chemical division undertakes an extraordinary complex technical challenge. With this in mind, the company has prioritised all aspects about safety of people and installations.


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