SABIC’s Wilton Cracker Plant to Resurrect Upon a Major Investment
- Journalist: Robert Hume
World’s leading petrochemical giant, SABIC, has secured a major investment valuing USD 1.16 billion for transforming its Olefins 6 plant at Wilton, UK, a move that assures safeguarding jobs of several workers. The investment will enable the revival of Teesside steam cracker by the end of 2022 after a year-long shutdown.
The facility, accountable for producing 865 KTPA and 415 KTPA of ethylene and propylene, respectively, had initially been halted for a short turnaround, which got extended after a continuous deferral to date, putting the plant futures in suspicion.
The company further revealed its plans to transform the Teesside cracker to run on electricity enabling reduced carbon emissions. The planned first phase of decarbonization of the UK’s naphtha cracker is expected to reduce 60% of carbon footprint. In the second phase, the company will perform feasibility studies for replacing non-renewable fossil fuel sources with hydrogen energy.
A naphtha cracker facilitates the production of olefins like ethylene and propylene which form the building blocks of the flourishing plastics industry. However, the olefin production in naphtha crackers proceeds via high-temperature breakdown of naphtha (i.e., refined crude oil) feeds, which is an energy-intensive process. Replacing natural gas with electricity for providing high temperatures has demonstrated the probability of slashing down carbon dioxide emissions to up to a whopping 90%.
As per ChemAnalyst, the investment for the revival of Wilton’s cracker has generated a vote of confidence about a secure future amongst the company’s employees as well as in the petrochemical industry. The revival is going to be highly crucial for the company’s supply-chain networks and the downstream sectors who are expected to enjoy a stable supply of ethylene and propylene volumes after a long gap. The company’s plans for decarbonizing the naphtha cracker represents a bold step towards achieving carbon neutrality, a notion, that is being favoured by most governments and is anticipated to lead the future.