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Company News, 2007-01-15, 09:10 AM

Uhde to build major turnkey propylene/polypropylene complex in Egypt

Egyptian Propylene & Polypropylene Company (EPPC), under the lead of Oriental Weavers Group, has commissioned Uhde to build a turnkey petrochemical complex in Port Said, some 170 kilometres north-east of Cairo. The complex will consist of a propylene plant and a polypropylene plant with respective annual production capacities of 350,000 tonnes as well as all appurtenant utilities and offsites, including an air fractionation and refrigerating unit, and the required storage tanks.

The contract was signed in Cairo at the end of 2006, in the presence of the Egyptian Prime Minister Dr Ahmed Nazif and the Egyptian Minister for Petroleum, Sameh Fahmy, and includes the licence, basic and detail engineering, supply of equipment, construction, training of the operating personnel and commissioning. EPPC is investing some US$680 million in this new petrochemical complex. Completion is scheduled for late 2009. Propane from Egyptian natural gas deposits will be used as the feedstock.

"This is the first time that our proprietary STAR process® will be used for the commercial-scale production of propylene from propane. It thus marks the commercial breakthrough of our new propane dehydrogenation technology, and on top of this as part of a process chain with polypropylene as the end product – yet more proof of our high technological competence," said Klaus Schneiders, Chairman of the Executive Board, emphasising the importance of this new major contract.

Uhde's forward-looking STAR (STeam Active Reforming) process® for dehydrogenating light hydrocarbons, such as propane to propylene or butane to butylene, is based on conventional steam reforming technology and a downstream oxidation reactor (oxyreactor), both using a special dehydrogenation catalyst. Uhde has decades of experience in the field of steam reforming, having already installed more than 60 reformers based on proprietary technology. A similar type of oxyreactor has already been successfully used in over 40 ammonia plants built by Uhde. Uhde acquired the conventional STAR process from the US company Phillips Petroleum in 1999 and has since developed it further.

The polypropylene (PP) plant will be based on Basell’s Spheripol® process and will produce a wide range of high-quality PP plastic pellets. The Spheripol® process is the world’s most widely used technology for the production of polypropylene, which has a wide range of market applications, including textiles, rigid and flexible packaging, consumer goods and automotive. EPPC will supply the PP to both the domestic and export markets.

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