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OMV to expand petrochemicals business

Photo courtesy of OMV

OMV, the integrated oil and gas company based in Vienna, Austria, has invested USD72 million to build an ISO C4 plant. The plant will break ground in mid-2019 at the Burghausen Refinery with plans to begin operations in September 2020. 

The plant will produce high-purity isobutene using new technology through a collaboration with OMV and BASF who have filed a joint global patent. It will be the first application worldwide of this technology.

“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,” according to a press release from OMV. The process allows for extreme energy efficiency, with up to 80% of the heating energy needs to be met by waste heat from existing facilities. The ISO C4 plant will have a capacity of 60,000 tonnes per annum. 

“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.

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.