Total Antwerp invests in ethane production

Monday 24 07 2017

The Total refinery and petrochemical platform in Antwerp has recently started producing ethylene from ethane. The company has invested 50 million euros to permit processing of this gas.

Greater flexibility

Total Antwerp has modified the terminal and one of its two steam crackers so that it can now process 200,000 tonnes of ethane gas annually brought by ship from Norway.

Total has three production facilities in Antwerp which together form an integrated platform for refining and petrochemicals. Production of ethylene, the starting material for plastics, amounts to around 1.1 million tonnes per year. Until recently Total Antwerp used naphtha, obtained from oil, as the raw material. With the new investment it can now also use butane and ethane, components of natural gas.

"The Antwerp project forms part of Total's strategy of expanding its petrochemical activities by making use of cheaper raw materials. This investment gives the Antwerp site greater flexibility and access to the most competitive raw materials," says Bernard Pinatel, general manager of Total Refining & Chemicals.

Additional investment

This project forms part of a wider upgrade of the Antwerp facility, and in the near future Total will invest further in construction of a new refinery complex. This will enable the company to use larger volumes of heavy fuel oil for lighter products. There will also be a unit for converting refinery waste gases into raw materials for petrochemicals. Total plans to put the new complex into operation later this year.