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Simens with Braskem to address electricity issues in Sao Paulo petchems sector


By Phillipe Craig / Platts

Petroleumworld 02 18 2019

Braskem will team up with Siemens on a project aimed at modernizing the electrical system that feeds the Brazilian petrochemical producer's Sao Paulo operations, the company said Wednesday.

"The project provides for the technological update of the system that serves the cracker, the main industrial unit of the petrochemical complex, responsible for the production of raw materials for the chemical and plastic sectors," Braskem said. "The modernization of the unit provides for the exchange of steam-based turbines with high-efficiency electric motors, supported by a new cogeneration plant fueled by residual gas from the petrochemical production process.

"This structural change will allow greater energy efficiency for the production process of the industrial unit."

The project comes with an estimated cost of Real600 million (around $160 million) and is slated for completion in 2021. Braskem will fund the project, while Siemens "will build and operate the high-efficiency cogeneration system through a long-term contract," Braskem said.

The announcement comes on the heels of a recent power outage in the ABC region of Sao Paulo that knocked offline part of Braskem's petrochemical production in the area. An overnight blackout on January 31 left upward of 1 million ABC residents without power for hours, according to local Brazilian media reports at the time.


However, both market sources and Braskem officials stressed that blackouts and other issues with ABC's electrical grid have long been reported by both residents and the region's petrochemical industries.

"The project was being discussed for a long time and the blackout in the past few weeks had no relation to the announcement happening right now," a Braskem spokesman told S&P Global Platts Friday. "It's not usual for a blackout of that proportion to happen."

The ABC region is part of the Greater Sao Paulo area and includes the cities of Santo Andre, Sao Bernardo do Campo, Sao Caetano do Sul, along with other small cities, including Maua.

Braskem's Sao Paulo operations house a steam cracker with a nameplate ethylene production capacity of 700,000 mt/year, according to the company. The cracker runs on a combination of feedstocks, consuming 130,000 mt/year of NGLs and 570,000 mt/year of naphtha.

The company's Sao Paulo system can also produce up to 260,000 mt/year of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and 230,000 mt/year of high-density polyethylene (HDPE).

Braskem's PE-7 plant straddles the border of Santo Andre and Maua and was knocked offline during the blackout, which also led to a reactionary shutdown of the associated steam cracker in Santo Andre that feeds PE-7.


Braskem activated its "stack flare" safety measures following the blackout, with the burning of feedstock ethylene necessitated by the temporary cutoff of downstream derivative units.

In addition to improving the reliability and performance of the power grid that powers Braskem's Sao Paulo operations, the project is expected to have a beneficial environmental impact, the company said.

"With the combined cogeneration of electricity and gas, we will consume less energy and emit even fewer greenhouse gases," Braskem executive Luis Pazin said in a statement. "With the combined cogeneration of electricity and gas, we will consume less energy and emit even fewer greenhouse gases."

Braskem's estimates call for decreases of 11.4% in water consumption and 6.3% in CO2 emissions by the unit, the company said.


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Story by Phillipe Craig from Platts / SPGlobal.

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02 18

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