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Sumitomo Chemical licenses PO process technology for BPCL’s new petrochemicals project

By Mary Page Bailey |

Sumitomo Chemical Co. (Tokyo, Japan; www.sumitomo-chem.co.jp) has signed an agreement with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL; Mumbai, Maharashtra, India) for licensing its propylene oxide (PO) production technology in connection with the petrochemical project which BPCL is conducting.

BPCL is one of the leading government-owned oil companies in India, with a total production capacity of approximately 840,000 barrels a day  (bbl/d) of crude oil from its four refinery complexes in India. BPCL aims to enter into the petrochemicals market by carrying out a large-scale petrochemical project adjacent to its refinery complex at Kochi in the state of Kerala. The project includes construction of new plants for PO and polyols. For PO production, a decision has been made to adopt Sumitomo Chemical’s proprietary technology. From now on, BPCL will conduct front-end engineering design and detailed engineering for the new PO plant, which will have a production capacity of 300,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) upon its completion targeted in 2022.

Sumitomo Chemical’s PO technology is based on a PO-only process in which, with cumene recycling, PO alone is manufactured without accompanying co-products. Sumitomo Chemical was the first in the world to commercialize this cumene method. The technology, combined with the use of the Company’s proprietary high-performance epoxidation catalyst, offers the distinct advantages of a high PO yield, energy efficiency and stability in plant operation. The technology has a proven track record of reliable operations at Sumitomo Chemical’s Chiba Works in Japan and Petro Rabigh in Saudi Arabia. It was also licensed to S-OIL Corp. of South Korea for a new plant with an annual production capacity of 300,000 m.t./yr, which successfully came on stream in 2018. In addition, it was licensed to a subsidiary of PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited of Thailand, whose plant is currently under construction and is due to be completed in 2020, with an annual production capacity of 200,000 m.t./yr.

Sumitomo Chemical intends to enhance the business portfolio of its Petrochemicals & Plastics Sector through the global expansion of its technology licensing activities. The company will continue to make a contribution to the development of the world’s petrochemical industry and help resolve issues the industry faces by licensing the array of technologies it has cultivated over its many years of experience.

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