Czech polyolefins producer Unipetrol a.s. has announced plans to launch a 270,000 metric ton per year polyethylene plant, due to go on stream at its main petrochemicals site at Litvínov, Czech Republic by mid 2018.
On Sept. 10, the company signed a deal worth more than 212 million euros ($239.7 million) with Technip Italy SpA for engineering, procurement and construction of the new unit. Based on Ineos technology, the turnkey PE3 plant will be located at Unipetrol's chemicals complex.
The facility is scheduled to replace one of the site's current PE units (PE1), but another existing plant (PE2), with a capacity of 200,000 metric tons will continue to operate, according to the Prague-based chemical producer.
Unipetrol, part of Poland's PKN Orlen oil group, is making its biggest ever capital investment — nearly 304 million euros ($343.7 million) — in the overall project, designed to boost its utilization of the Litvínov site's ethylene unit. It will also contribute to greater integration of Unipetrol's petrochemical and refining production, said the firm.
The announcement comes just weeks after a propylene leak in the steam cracker unit at Unipetrol's Záluží Chempark site in Litvínov, resulting in an explosion and fire, shut down its petrochemicals operation.
The firm warned in August as the cause of the blaze was still being investigated, that the unit would take several months to return to full production. In fact, limited PE and polypropylene output has been restarted since then, according to Unipetrol.
Construction work on the new plant is not scheduled to begin until the second quarter of next year.
Unipetrol made clear its latest PE expansion project is a “key investment, not only within our mid-term strategy, but also for the development of the Czech petrochemical industry.”
“The technology will move Unipetrol to the European elite in the area of product quality and, at the same time, ensure even better safety and reliability of the production. This is also a clear indication of our long term commitment to the strategic development on the Czech market,” said Chairman and CEO Marek Świtajewski.