Brazilian petrochemical giant Braskem is working toward increasing feedstock flexibility for at its Camacari plant in Bahia state with a goal of 30%, the company said Friday.
"We are working within the new threshold of 30% flexibility, advancing in the phase of technical engineering studies for this purpose," CEO Fernando Musa said in a statement.
Braskem in late 2016 retrofitted one of the Camacari crackers during a 45-day planned turnaround, enabling the Bahia facility to use ethane for up to 15% of its feedstock. The Camacari project is part of a larger goal for Braskem to have less than 50% of all its company-wide polymer production use naphtha as a feedstock.
In addition to retrofitting one of Camacari's two steam crackers, the project involved building a receiving terminal at the nearby port of Aratu and logistical infrastructure to transport the ethane to Camacari.
Conversion of the storage tank was not provided for in the original lease and would come at a cost of Real 161.4 million ($46 million), according to a government statement issued at the time.
The largest petrochemical plant in South America, Camacari has a combined annual ethylene production capacity of 1.28 million mt, according to Braskem. The complex includes downstream polymer production of polyethylene, polypropylene and PVC, among others.
The bulk of Braskem's company-wide petrochemical production is naphtha-based, but it operates a 100% ethane-fed steam cracker in Rio de Janeiro that has an ethylene production capacity of 520,000 mt/year.
Braskem has a 10-year supply contract in place with an affiliate of Enterprise Products Partners to import ethane from the US, although the volume has yet to be disclosed. The ethane will be bought at a price based on the Mont Belvieu, Texas, reference price, Braskem said.