Repsol YPF has unveiled a 600 million-euro ($762 million) plan to double capacity at its petrochemicals site in Sines, Portugal, adding polypropylene and linear low density polyethylene lines.
The complex, which already produces low and high density PE resins, will see its overall olefin and polyolefin capacities each grow to 2.2 billion pounds by 2010, according to Madrid, Spain-based Repsol.
The plan involves building two plants for LLDPE and PP, along with a power station, and increasing annual output of the existing ethylene cracker 40 percent to 1.2 billion pounds. The enlarged complex will create 120 direct and 250 indirect jobs, Repsol said.
``This investment will accomplish full integration of feedstock consumption at the complex and optimize costs, as well as complement the product portfolio and increase production of higher-added-value products,'' the company said in a news release.
The Sines site currently exports around a third of its ethylene and all its propylene output.
The company is responding to the steady growth in market demand for LLDPE and PP. It points to their respective growth rates of 6 percent and 5 percent per year, ``greatly outpacing'' the annual economic growth of countries in Western Europe.
Antonio Brufau, Repsol executive chairman, called the Sines plan ``a profitable growth project'' intended to strengthen the group's presence in Iberia and southern Europe and boosting its chemical division core businesses.
Since September 2004, when Repsol bought the Sines operation from Borealis A/S, it has invested 50 million euros ($63 million) to expand the cracker and HDPE plant.
At the start of 2005, the Sines site had PE capacity of around 606 million pounds, with 320 million pounds of LDPE and 287 million pounds of HDPE.