Petron Corp. Begins Production of High-Value Petrochemical Feedstock Propylene

abarrelfullabarrelfull wrote on 27 Sep 2013 06:03

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Oil industry leader Petron Corporation yesterday said that it has begun the production of the petrochemical feedstock propylene at its 180,000 barrel-per-day Bataan Refinery with the recent start-up of its Propylene Recovery Unit (PRU) after the commissioning of its Petro Fluidized Catalytic Cracker (PetroFCC) in mid-February.

“From a national perspective, this major investment underscores our belief in the country’s growth prospects and our desire to contribute to nation-building,” Petron CEO and Chairman Nicasio I. Alcantara said. “These new refinery units will hopefully jumpstart the local petrochemical industry and will result in exponential benefits for other vital downstream manufacturing sectors.”

The PetroFCC, which is the first “cracking” unit of its kind in the world, has significantly improved operating efficiencies since it converts black products (fuel oil) to high-value white products (LPG, gasoline, diesel etc.) and enables the extraction of the petrochemical feedstock propylene. From the PetroFCC, the propylene stream is purified in the PRU to produce petrochemical grade propylene. The PetroFCC has a conversion capacity of 19,000 barrels per day while the PRU will produce 140,000 metric tons of propylene annually.

The PetroFCC and the PRU are core components of the company’s $300-million Refinery Master Plan phase 1 which also includes a BTX unit that would produce of aromatics namely Benzene, Toluene, and increase Mixed Xylene production. The BTX unit is slated to be completed by towards the end of the year.

In a related development, Mr. Alcantara revealed that Petron’s management teamhas already had some informal discussions with representatives of Ashmore, the $36.5-billion global asset management company which has offered to buy Saudi Aramco’s 40% stake in Petron.

“We are glad to note that our strategic transformation program, which is based on our diversification into petrochemicals, is one of the main reasons why Ashmore offered to buy Aramco’s shares,” Mr. Alcantara added. “They will definitely support our further expansion into the petrochemicals business.”

The company is currently evaluating Phase 2 of its Refinery Master Plan which aims to increase conversion capacity and petrochemical feedstock production.

Mr. Alcantara reiterated that Ashmore’s interest in buying Aramco’s shares is a strong vote of confidence in the company’s operations and growth prospects, and the Philippines as an investment destination.

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