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PRU to produce 140,000 MT of propylene annually
10
Sep '08
The country's leading refining and marketing company Petron Corporation marks another first when it inaugurates the Philippines' first petrochemical feedstock facilities on April 9 at its 180,000 barrel-per-day refinery in Limay, Bataan.

The Petro Fluidized Catalytic Cracking (PetroFCC) unit and Propylene Recovery Unit (PRU) are part of the company's Refinery Master Plan, which will enable it to further diversify into the petrochemical business and sustain its growth momentum.

The PetroFCC, the first “cracking” unit of its kind in the world, converts black products (fuel oil) into higher value LPG, gasoline, and diesel. More importantly, it yields a higher level of the petrochemical feedstock propylene than typical FCC units.

The PRU further purifies the propylene so that it can be used in making various petrochemical products that are used to manufacture everyday items such as food packaging, appliances, suitcases, furniture, DVD's and even car parts.

The PetroFCC has a conversion capacity of 19,000 barrels per day while the PRU will produce 140,000 metric tons of propylene annually.

“The inauguration of these facilities underpins our strategic transformation program which aims to broaden our markets and give us new high-value revenue streams.

This is the first major step in our diversification into the petrochemicals business and signals a shift in our growth strategy,” President Kamal M. Al-Yahya said.

For some years now, Petron mixed xylene production has been a major contributor to the company's bottom line. The increase in its petrochemical feedstock production is expected to further boost income. Petron posted a net income of P6.4-billion in 2007 or a 6.3% increase over its 2006 profits.

The PetroFCC and the PRU are core components of the company's $300-million Refinery Master Plan phase 1 which also includes a BTX unit that would produce aromatics namely Benzene and Toluene, as well as increase Mixed Xylene production. The BTX unit is scheduled for completion by early 2009.

Petron's first tender for the off-take of polymer-grade propylene for six months was won by Mitsui Co Ltd. Mitsui is one of the largest Japanese trading houses with a strong global presence in petrochemicals.

With strong logistical support, it trades propylene in Asia, including the Philippines. The first propylene lifting of 1,500 MT from Petron by Mitsui was done on April 1.

Petron's petrochemical feedstock units represent the company's second major investment in three years at its 180,000 barrel per day Bataan Refinery.

In early 2005, Petron inaugurated its $100-million Clean Air facilities to comply with strict environmental standards. This made Petron the only oil company in the country capable of producing compliant fuels to meet its requirements without resorting to imports.

“From a national perspective, this major investment underscores our belief in the country's growth prospects and our commitment to contribute to the national economy.

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