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OMV to expand petrochemicals business with new isobutene plant

Jul 16, 2019
2 min read
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Austria's OMV has made the decision to invest EUR 64 million in the construction of an ISO C4 plant with building starting this summer at the Burghausen Refinery and operations planned to start in September 2020.

This will be the first application worldwide of technology developed in collaboration with BASF for direct production of high-purity isobutene.

The idea behind the innovative method for heat integration came about through a collaboration by OMV and BASF and was jointly filed for a global patent by both companies. As a supplier of catalysts and licensor of petrochemicals technologies, BASF offers a catalyst system that intrinsically fulfils all process requirements. The new unit for the production of high-purity isobutene will be integrated into the existing metathesis plant at the OMV Burghausen Refinery, which is responsible for the energy-efficient manufacturing of propylene for the plastics industry.

The ISO C4 unit will have a production capacity of around 60,000 t/a.Isobutene is part of the C4 hydrocarbons group and is produced from crude oil components by means of thermal cracking. The isobutene produced will complement the current OMV product portfolio and will be used for manufacturing glues, grease and other chemicals such as antioxidants, as well as in the production of vitamin C.

"The new ISO C4 unit is a further element that highlights OMV's talent for innovation. This exceptionally efficient and innovative technology has allowed us to raise the bar yet again in the petrochemicals sector following on from our metathesis plant that has been operational since 2007. In the medium to long term, the demand for fossil fuels will change, which will also affect the refining business. That is why the strategic focus of the OMV Downstream business lies in petrochemicals. We want to achieve long-term, sustainable growth and continue to strengthen our competitive position", said Thomas Gangl, OMV Executive Board member for Refining & Petrochemical Operations.

"With this seminal new technique for producing a key chemical, BASF is helping its customers to achieve more energy-efficient production. As the global market leader for process catalysts, we serve as a development partner for our customers and are proud to support OMV in becoming even more successful", added Detlef Ruff, Senior vice president Process Catalysts at BASF.