PetroChina Sichuan Petrochemical Integrated Petrochemical Complex, China

In March 2003 PetroChina and the Sichuan Provincial government agreed to jointly develop a petrochemical complex centred on a cracker producing 800,000tpa (tons per annum) of ethylene. By 2004 PetroChina had completed a feasibility study and an environmental impact assessment report. The project received final approval in 2005.

Groundbreaking on the complex took place in the first quarter of 2006, completion is slated for 2010. The facilities are situated on the outskirts of Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, China.

Along with the 800,000tpa of ethylene, the complex will produce 450,000tpa of polypropylene (PP), 600,000tpa of paraxylene (PX), 380,000tpa of monoethylene glycol (MEG) and 50,000tpa of ethylene oxide (EO)

PetroChina Sichuan Petrochemical Company Ltd (PSP) is owned by PetroChina, which has a 51% stake and Chengdu Petrochemical, which owns the remaining 49%.

Hydroformylation unit

PetroChina Sichuan Petrochemical's hydroformylation unit, which will produce 338,000tpa of normal and iso-butyraldehydes, is said to be the largest custom-designed single-line low-pressure hydroformylation unit built anywhere in the world.

"Groundbreaking on the complex took place in the first quarter of 2006, completion is slated for 2010."

The unit will use technology cooperatively offered by the companies; Dow Technology Licensing and Davy Process Technology. The LP Oxo Selector 10 Technology is a low-pressure process that uses propylene and synthesis gas to produce normal and iso-butyraldehyde.

These butyraldehydes are converted to 2-ethylhexanol and normal and iso-butanol. Butanols are used solvents for coatings and adhesives and 2-ethylhexanol is used to produce plasticisers for PVC.

Polypropylene unit

During the middle of 2008 PetroChina Sichuan Petrochemical Company announced that it had selected Dow Technology Licensing's UNIPOL process technology for its 450,000tpa polypropylene (PP) plant. At the same time PetroChina Sichuan announced that it had awarded Aker Solutions a contract to provide the process design and technical advisory services or the PP plant.

Dow Technology Licensing said that its technology, along with the advanced catalyst systems provides licensees with the "capability to achieve economies of scale and offer differentiated products to customers."

Paraxylene complex

"Petrochemical's hydro-formylation unit is the largest custom-designed single-line low-pressure hydro-formylation unit in the world."

US-based UOP was selected to supply technology and basic engineering for PetroChina Sichuan Petrochemical's 600,000tpa paraxylene (PX) complex. The facility will incorporate UOP's parex process technology. Demand for paraxylene in China, which is a key ingredient in the production of purified terephthalic acid used to make, amongst other things, plastic bottles, is expected to grow at an annual rate of 11% over the next ten years.

The paraxylene complex will also include a UOP CCR platforming process unit to convert naphtha to aromatics and hydrogen, a UOP isomer process unit to convert xylenes to paraxylene and a UOP Tatoray process unit to increase the yield of paraxylene and benzene.

Ethylene oxide / ethylene glycol technology

During March 2008, Shell Global Solutions International signed a licensing contract with PetroChina Sichuan Petrochemical for the application of Shell's ethylene oxide / ethylene glycol (EO/EG) process technology.

Under the contract Shell's EO/EG process and CRI Catalyst Company's EO catalyst will be used in a plant producing 380,000tpa of monoethylene glycol (MEG) and 50,000tpa of ethylene oxide (EO).

Petrochemical complex background

The petrochemical complex is said to be the first ever of world scale to be built in China's south-western region. Output from the facility will meet the growing demand from consumers located in the region, strengthening PetroChina's position in the petrochemical market. In addition the complex will also help boost the local economy, providing employment opportunities.