Artlant Purified Terephthalic Acid Facility, Sines, Portugal


Artlant (formerly Artensa / Artenius (Produção e Comercialização de ácido Tereftálico Purificado e Produtos Conexos)), a Spanish subsidiary of La Seda de Barcelona (LSB), has set up a new purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant in Sines, Portugal.

Sines already has one of the largest industrial parks in Portugal, and the occupants include Sines Power Plant (Electricidade de Portugal), Petrogal Sines (National Petrochemical Refinery) and Repsol (Polymer Refinery).

The new Artlant plant has been designed to produce around 700,000t/y of PTA, making it one of the largest plants of its kind in Europe. It covers an area of 25ha.

Test runs were being carried out for the commissioning of the plant since July 2011. The facility commenced production of purified teraphthalic acid in March 2012. At the current global PTA prices, the plant will generate €600m annually in revenues at normal production levels.

Approximately 95% of the production will be exported to countries including those in Africa, the Middle East, India and Brazil. The location of the plant will enable fast and economic distribution of the product. The plant is expected to generate 400 direct and indirect jobs.

Construction of Artlant's PTA plant

Construction of the plant began at the end of 2007 and was completed by the end of 2010.

The complex consists of the production facility, raw material and finished product silos, pipe work, wastewater treatment plant and administrative and logistics areas.

EU grant aid support and facility ownership

"Test runs were being carried out for the commissioning of the plant since July 2011. The facility commenced production of purified teraphthalic acid in March 2012."

The plant has been constructed with an EU grant aid since it was a significant employer in the coastal Alentejo region of Portugal. In July 2007 it was reported that the European Commission had provided €99.29m in investment aid (soft loan and corporate tax relief) for the new PTA plant. The final amount of the investment for the plant had exceeded €400m.

The project has been financed by the own resources of the company to the tune of €108.11m, by bank financing containing no state aid element €213.55m and by a soft loan containing state aid €38.82m. As such the total state aid has been more than €99.29m.

Therefore, the contribution by the beneficiary exceeded 25% of the eligible costs, making it eligible for grant aid under article 88(3)(a) of the EC Treaty.

In January 2010, LSB announced a capital increase plan as part of a major restructuring programme for the company. LSB had been facing financial difficulties which led to suspension of construction of the plant for several months. The capital increase programme was completed in September 2010.

As part of the plan, a new capital structure was created for Artlant Sines. LSB reduced its stake in the company to 41% and three investment funds acquired the remaining stake.

The ownership structure of Artlant Sines now includes LSB (41%), ECS Capital through Fundo Recuperação (29%), Caixa Capital (19%) and InovCapital (11%).

Contractors involved with Artlant's Portuguese plant

In October 2007 Aker Kvaerner was awarded a £20m (€30m) contract for the engineering, procurement and construction management of the plant.

"Approximately 95% of the production will be exported to countries including those in Africa, the Middle East, India and Brazil."

The detailed engineering of the plant was provided by Jacobs E&C Limited (formerly Aker Solutions of Mumbai, India).

Technoedif of Portugal, as a subcontractor, was responsible for the engineering support and construction management of the new plant. Veolia Environnement was contracted to provide environmental services for the plant.

Amarinth supplied 40 centrifugal pumps with installed capacity ranging from 5.5KW to 315KW. The designs were based on Amarinth's A Series API 610 OH2 and C Series ISO 5199 pumps.

Production from the purified terephthalic acid facility

PTA, which was first introduced in 1951, is also known as 1,4-benzenedicarboxylic acid and it has the chemical formula C6H4(COOH)2.

The PTA will be used for the production of polyester, PET resin for packaging, PET films, powder coating resins and synthetic fibres.