As part of a programme to expand phenol production capacities at its plant in Płock, Poland’s oil refiner and petrol retailer PKN ORLEN has purchased a licence and basic engineering design package for an isopropanol unit. If the project receives a go-ahead, PKN ORLEN will be the world’s fifth company to implement this innovative technology.
“Petrochemicals have huge potential we want to harness to deliver maximum value,” commented Daniel Obajtek, President of the PKN ORLEN Management Board. “Expanding this business line is of strategic importance to PKN ORLEN and Poland’s economy, with our Petrochemicals Development Programme set to turn the country from petrochemical importer to petrochemical exporter. Our capital projects will also benefit shareholders in the long run.”
Once complete, the programme is expected to add an impressive 1.5 billion złotys to annual operating profit.
“The programme to expand the phenol and acetone value chain is one of the four projects comprising PKN ORLEN’s strategic Petrochemicals Development Programme. The planned isopropanol unit would have an additional advantage – it would make Poland more secure in the event of an epidemic,” continued Mr Obajtek.
Isopropyl alcohol is a less expensive substitute for ethanol or methanol, has antiviral properties and is used in the production of antiseptic fluids, in the printing industry and as a fuel additive, to name just a few applications.
“Pursuing its strategic goal of extending the value chain and maximising the return on investment in expanding its phenol production capacity, PKN ORLEN is considering the construction of an IPA unit, which would help to convert part of by-product acetone into a high-margin solvent, that is isopropanol,” noted Zbigniew Leszczyński, Member of the PKN ORLEN Management Board, Development. “The project is an example of our well-thought-out strategy of shifting our portfolio from commodity to speciality products in response to growing customer expectations.”