C OUN T R I E S (A s u r v e y ) O. B. B r a g i n s k i i
In the survey published earlier,* ethylene production capacities in 1964-1965 and the material for forecasting the growth of capacities during 1967-1970 were analyzed. These forecasts were justified, and in some countries, ethylene production capacities in 1969 proved to be larger than expected (see Table 1). In the U. K. Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) has the largest ethylene production capacities (790,000 tons). This firm set up at Wilton the first ethylene unit in the world with a capacity of 450,000 tons/year. British Hydrocarbon Chemicals substantially expanded its ethylene capacities in Grangemouth and Baglan Bay (to 450,000 tons). Features of the development of the British petrochemical industry, based on the use of large ethylene units, are the increasing part played by ICI, which is building large complexes on its own, and the amalgamation of capital of various (mainly,British) firms for the purpose of establishing stable and lasting links for the production of raw materials, semi-finished, and finished products. In France, ethylene unit capacities grew primarily as a result of commissioning a large plant in Feyzin (280. 103 tons) and expanding capacities of Lacq, Gonfreville, etc. The development of the French petrochemical industry is marked by a trend towards economic integration in the European Economic Community, which is reflected in the association of firms in a specialized cooperative organization almost wholly concerned with the production of petrochemicals. In addition to the firms mentioned above (seeTable 1), the chemical firms Kuhlmann, Pechiney, Rh~ne-Poulenc, and Ugine have joined the organization. The association of the firms has made it possible to concentrate capital for the establishment of powerful petrochemical centers, attract bank credits, ensure cooperation in production in order to eliminate competition among firms, and unite efforts to provide a stable and uninterrupted supply of raw materials. Within the association, it is known that firms have specialized in the production of various commodities, in the supply of raw materials, energy resources, and water, and the storage and transport of products. In the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), there has been a further increase in the influence of the large firms Bayer, Hoechst, and BASF, and also the international petroleum concerns Esso, Caltex, and British Petroleum, which have begun diversifying their production and producing ethylene, propylene, and other petrochemicals along with petroleum products. The merger of traditional German firms with international petroleum concerns which control the production of initialraw materials (gases, straight-run gasolines, etc.) and have large financial resources, has resulted in the establishment of l~einische Olefinwerke and Erd~lchemie.
*O. B. Braginskii, Khim. i Tekhnol. Topliv i Masel, No. 8 (1967). Translated from Khimiya i Tekhnologiya Topliv i Masel, No. 2, pp. 59-61, February, 1971.
9 1971 C o n s u l t a n t s Bureau, a division o f Plenum P u b l i s h i n g Corporation, 227 West 17th Street, New York, N. Y. 10011. All rights reserved. This article cannot be reproduced for any purpose w h a t s o e v e r without permission o f the publisher. A copy o f this article is available from the p u b l i s h e r for $15.00.
C a p a c i t i e s of E t h y l e n e Units in the W e s t e r n European Countries Country (firms)
L o c a t i o n of units
C a p a c i t y (thousands of tons) 1964
United K i n g d o m , t o t a l . . . . . . . . . . .
of w h i c h : ICI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Shell C h e m i c a l
British Hydrocarbon C h e m i c a l s . . . .
Esso . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
British C e l a n e s e . . . . . . . . . . . . .
France, t o t a l . . . . . . .
of w h i c h : C o m p a g n i e Franeaise de R a f f i n a g e . .
Shell Raffinage . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Esso Standard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
SNPA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Feyzin ; Carling
C h i m i e de C a r b o n a g e . . . . . . . . . . F e d e r a l Republic of G e r m a n y , t o t a l . . . . of w h i c h : Rheinische O l e f i n w e r k e
The FRG has substantial ethylene production capacities, on the basis of which large integrated petrochemical enterprises have been created. Most of the petroleum refining and petrochemical enterprises of the FRG are located along the Rhine. The development of petrochemical complexes has changed the appearance of the Ruhr industrial area, for the development of which the chief raw material was formerly c o a l Now, an essential role is played by petroleum, the refining and chemical utilization of which has given new impetus to the development of this area. The development of the petrochemical industry in Italy continued to be dominated by the growth of state monopoly concerns such as ENI (which controls the production of hydrocarbon feeds), and its petrochemical division, ANIC. In 1966, the largest chemical firm in Italy, Montecatini, merged with the large concern, Edison, which had previously been active in electrical energy, but then, after transferring its enterprises to the state power body, ENEL, entered the chemical industry. The new firm (Montecatini-Edison) is one of the most important chemical firms in the capitalist world and has the largest ethylene units in Italy, at Porto Marghera (450,000 tons), Brindisi (250,000 tons), and Priolo (220,000 tons). Around these large ethylene units of Montecatini-Edison other firms, too. are establishing petrochemical c o m plexes, which include the production of plastics, synthetic rubber, chemical fibers, ethanol, ethanolamine, glycols, and other chemical products. Powerful petrochemical centers have been established by other firms in northern Italy and on the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. In the five year period between 1965 and 1970, the capacities of ethylene units in Italy increased more than threefold. Very large petrochemical complexes are now being established in Belgium and the Netherlands. These countries are rapidly becoming major suppliers of petrochemicals, and the industrial centers around Rotterdam (Netherlands) and Antwerp (Belgium) are beginning, as regards the high density of the petrochemical industries, to be reminiscent of the area around Houston. Texas, in the USA. A large number of chemical firms, in particular American ones with substantial financial resources, have established themselves in these countries. This is due to the fact that in these countries, owing to the necessity of importing nearly all the basic raw m a terials, above aI1 petroleum, and a highly established petroleum refining industry, a tradition of industrial production has emerged, and skilled manpower is available. In addition, these countries are favorably located, geographically speaking, and have large seaports. Several large ethylene units have been built in recent years or are now being built and have or will become in the near future the centers of petrochemical complexes. These are, above all, units belonging to Shell Nederland Chemic in Pernis (near Rotterdam), whose capacity has increased from 130,000 tons (1967) to 450,000 tons (1970). AIso here, in the Rotterdam area, the American-Dutch firm gsso Chemie produces 300,000 tons of aromatic hydrocarbons; the American firm Gulf Oil produces 50,000 tons of paraffins; the British firm ICI produces nylon, low-density polyethylene, and methyl methacrylate; the American firm Continental Columbian Carbon produces carbon black; the American-Dutch firm Petrochemie produces dimethyl terephthalate and chemical fibers; and the Dutch concern Unilever produces detergents. In the Rotterdam area, Gulf Oil is building an ethylene unit with a capacity of 300,000 tons of ethylene, which will be used on the spot for the production of polyethylene and other polymer materials. In Temeuzen, the firm Dow is building an ethylene unit with a capacity of 400,000 tons. The state firm DSM has an ethylene unit in Beck, where high- and low-density polyethylene and ethylenepropylene rubber are produced from ethylene base. In Belgium, the largest petrochemical center is Antwerp, where the firm P~trochim has already built an ethylene unit with a capacity of 200,000 tons, and, jointly with the American firm Phillips, is building a unit with a capacity of 300,000 tons. Based on ethylene obtained from these units and also on aromatic hydrocarbons from the refineries, a petrochemical complex has been created; it produces polyethylene, ethylene oxide with refining, vinyl chloride and its polymer, phenol, acetic acid, polyurethanes, and other chemical products.
It is expected that in the future ever-increasing difficulties will be encountered in the supply of straight-run gasolines to ethylene units. In connection with the increased deficit of straight-run gasoline, experiments are being undertaken on the use, for pyrolysis, of intermediate and heavier fractions and even crude oil. For example, the firm Marathon, in Burghausen (FRG), has established a unit for the pyrolysis of crude oil to produce ethylene and acetylene simultaneously. Apart from the technical difficulties which unavoidably arise in the pyrolysis of intermediate and heavy frac -~ tions, there may occur certain imbalances in the utilization pattern of intermediate and heavy fractions, the production and consumption of which are very delicately balanced. In conclusion, we remark that in the coming years the trend towards further growth in ethylene capacities in the Western European countries will be maintained. LITERATURE 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Oil and Gas J., 65, No. 36, 103 (1967). Europ. Chem. News, No. 3 (1968). K. Hayasi, Kagaku Kogyo, 1....99,No. 7, 19 (1968). Yu, Kawase, Kagaku Kogyo, 1....99,No. 7, 35 (1968). I. Morrison, Oil and Gas J., 66, No. 26, 74 (1968).