SOCAR Polymer has reached a fresh milestone in the creation of its major new polyolefins complex at the Sumgayit Chemical Industry Park (SKSP) in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev was present at a groundbreaking ceremony for the company's 120,000 metric tons per year capacity high density polyethylene plant. Along with a 180,000 tonnes per year polypropylene production facility, the plant is now due to be commissioned by 2018.
The HDPE plant, aimed at import substitution to meet demand in Azerbaijan's growing plastics market, is set to produce a range of products including commodity grades manufactured with Ziegler and chrome catalysts and specialty grades like bimodal PE 100 pipe polymers.
SOCAR Polymer, a recently formed subsidiary of the Azerbaijan state oil and gas corporation SOCAR, has already concluded a licensing agreement with Ineos Technologies to use its Innovene S Process technology at the new PE facility.
In April, SOCAR signed an engineering contract with the Italian firm Maire Tecnimont SpA for the construction of the PP plant, which is expected to be completed first by the end of 2017, according to the agreement.
The PP unit, transferred from Canada, will be equipped with LyondellBasell's Spheripol process technology. It is the first PP plant to operate in Azerbaijan as the country develops and extends its petrochemicals industry.
Around 30 percent of the output of each new plant has been earmarked for sale in the domestic market while the remainder is due to be exported to Turkey, Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent State nations in Eastern Europe, according to SOCAR Polymer.
The Sumgayit Chemical Industry Park, 30 kilometers north of the Azerbaijan capital Baku, which began to take shape in 2013 is expected to become a major new petrochemicals hub in Central Asia.
SOCAR Polymer, formed in 2013, is a joint venture between the state owned oil and gas group and several private industrial companies. The company already produces low density polyethylene most of which is exported.
SOCAR group offshoot Azerkimya plans a longer term project to establish a bigger 13 billion euro ($14.1 billion) oil, gas and petrochemicals complex near Baku with butadiene, PE and PP production. This is expected to include 670,000 tonnes per year of PE and 550,000 tonnes per year of PP, and is set to be launched in 2020.