Storage area (Puertollano). Image: Repsol
Repsol has announced that during the first quarter of 2015, it achieved over 20 percent increase in its polyolefins sales in Europe compared to the same period of 2014.
The company says efforts to focus production growth on premium and differentiated products, geographical diversification outside the Iberian Peninsula and increased contact with distributors, have allowed the company to take advantage of increased domestic demand and export opportunities.
This improvement in sales volumes is the result of the recent investments, such as the technical enhancements and the use of propane as feedstock in the company’s crackers at Tarragona and Sines, as well as the good performance and productivity of the plants in the first quarter of 2015.
At the beginning of April, Repsol restarted its cracker at Puertollano after a programmed shutdown, during which more than 60 million euros were invested to downsize the cracker to adapt its capacity to the availability of naphtha alternative feed-stocks such as fuel-gas stream from refining, and also to replace all critical cracker equipment with cutting-edge technology which improve energy efficiency, sustainability and productivity.
The downsizing of the cracker has limited its capacity of ethylene to 100,000 tonnes per year, which has led to the closure of the old High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) plant. Nevertheless, Repsol says this has enabled it to optimise the occupation rate of its five EVA units, increasing production of these differentiated products by seven percent.
Additionally, the improvements achieved in the refining FCC unit allow an increase in propylene production that Repsol says subsequently enables it to increase its polypropylene production to over 30,000 tonnes per year.
This makes Repsol’s petrochemical complex in Puertollano a fully integrated site, with polyolefin units focused on differentiated products and a competitive cracker combining energy efficiency and alternative feedstock from refining.