Demand for polymers is growing four times faster than motor fuel demand, and refineries integrating petrochemicals are more resilient to market fluctuations.
For an industrial investor who would like to seize this opportunity, where to start?
Unlike a refinery configuration study which has much to do with answering the question of “how” rather than “what”, with petrochemicals, the questions an investor is facing are not just that of finding a technical solution but also that of including the project into a business vision:
Axens Performance Programs has led several configuration studies on Petrochemical Complexes to help investors navigate their complexity and to get off to the “right start”. Some of the clients were industrial actors without refining activities; some were refiners looking to expand and highlight existing streams. In most cases, the industrial project begins with availability of feedstock; however the panel of products that can be potentially manufactured is broad-ranging. It is difficult, without sound support, to determine the best options.
First step: getting in-depth knowledge of the market
Sailors know all too well that the first thing to do before weighing anchor is to be sure that they have the chart of the seas they are going to sail across. In most studies, the analysis conducted by Axens starts with an extensive market study, covering the potential products, at global and local levels; it includes price and volume trends, trade and on-going projects.
Second step: defining the configuration
Once the destinations are identified, then comes the question of the “ship”. In this step Axens helps the industrial visualize what his project means in terms of industrial plants, stream arrangement and economics through a configuration study, the scope of which covers feedstock preparation up to the downstream units. They can be major intermediates, specialties or polymers.
And finally: from the selection to the vision
For a typical study, deliverables include:
Total Complex and Process description
Full material and utility balances
Total Investment cost
Financial parameters and sensitivity analysis
By this approach, Axens will (first) provide the investor with an overview of all possible options, so that he can decide on the preferred option.
This preferred option will then be studied in more details in a conceptual/development study.
Axens advantages as a partner:
Axens is the contact point with licensors
Axens is efficient and provides fast results
Axens has studied many integrated refineries
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