The Path to Petrochemical Success


May 30 2017

Written by Axens

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


Articles that might interest you


Let’s see what we can achieve together. Get in touch with us!

Contact us