Pemex opens lab focused on plastics technology and research

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MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) has opened its first petrochemicals technical assistance laboratory which it says will enable it to adopt new transformation processes and develop innovative applications for the petrochemicals industry.

The laboratory will “promote research into polyethylene in different operational conditions and when combined with other materials,” Pemex said in a news release.

The laboratory, known as the Laboratorio de Asistencia Técnica de Pemex Petroquímica (PPQ), is located on the premises of the Mexican Petroleum Institute (IMP) in Mexico City.

In a June 9 news release, PPQ’s managing director, Manuel Sánchez Gúzman, said the laboratory uses the latest technology for analysis and is equipped with the processing machinery that “replicates practically all the processes carried out by the plastics industry in Mexico.”

It was built with the technical assistance of Mexico’s state-funded national science and technology council, Conacyt (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología). A Pemex spokesman was unable to specify the size of the investment in the lab, whose equipment was paid for jointly by Conacyt and Pemex.

Conacyt will operate the laboratory on land ceded by the IMP using staff from Mexico’s applied chemistry research center Ciqa (Centro de Investigación de Química Aplicada).

“I’m amazed that the laboratory is fitted with the very latest and the best analytical equipment, not only for raw materials but also end products, as well as with processing machinery,” said industry consultant Eduardo de la Tijera Coeto, a co-founder and president/CEO of Grupo Texne, of Mexico City.

“PPQ is the only Pemex company that competes on the open market and should be at the same [technical] level as its competitors,” De la Tijera added.

He also said that the lab “places PPQ at the vanguard of polyethylene suppliers. No other supplier has anything like this [lab] at the service of its customers. What’s more no producer of any of the other resins has a laboratory like this in Mexico.”

De la Tijera, a former president of the national plastics industry association, Anipaq (Asociación Nacional de las Industrias del Plástico AC), said much of the credit for the lab’s creation should go to Carlos Pani, PPQ’s deputy comercial director, who first suggested it to Conacyt and PPQ in 2007.