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Antwerp upgrade starts with ethylene production

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Total’s refining and chemicals platform in Antwerp has started up production of ethylene using ethane feedstock. Total has invested nearly US$60 million to revamp one of the platform’s two steam crackers and to adapt the site’s terminal to enable the import of 200 000 tpy of ethane by ship from Norway.

The project optimises supply by providing flexibility to use either ethane, butane or naphtha as feedstock; advantaged feedstock could therefore account for more than 50% of supply.

“The Antwerp project is part of Total’s strategy of upgrading its major integrated platforms and expanding its petrochemicals business to take advantage of low cost feedstock. The Group recently launched two such projects on its giant sites in the United States and South Korea,” said Bernard Pinatel, President, Total Refining & Chemicals. “The Antwerp investment makes the site more flexible and opens access to the most competitive feedstock.”

The project is part of a wider upgrade of the Antwerp facility that also includes the construction of a new refining complex - to convert larger volumes of heavy fuel oil into light products for which there is growing demand - as well as a unit to process refinery off-gas for use as petrochemical feedstock. The platform upgrades are expected to be completed in 2H17.

Located in the city’s port area, the Antwerp refining and chemicals facility has three production sites, forming an integrated platform for both refining (338 000 bpd) and petrochemicals (1.1 million tpy of ethylene). The platform produces various petroleum products, such as heavy fuel oil, gasoline, LPG, diesel and jet fuel. It also manufactures base chemicals — olefins, C4 fractions and aromatic hydrocarbons — some of which are used to make polymers (high-density polyethylene).

The Antwerp platform employs around 1700 people. Its products are used in a number of consumer and industrial applications, such as packaging and automotive components.

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