BP and SOCAR have signed a heads of agreement (HoA) to evaluate the formation of a joint venture to build and operate a world-scale petrochemicals complex in Turkey, both companies announced in a shared statement yesterday.
According to the announcement, the proposed facility in Aliağa, a district in İzmir province in Turkey's Aegean region, would produce 1.25 million tons per annum (tpa) of purified terephthalic acid (PTA), 840,000 tpa of paraxylene (PX) and 340,000 tpa of benzene.
"PTA is used to manufacture polyesters, which have many uses including food and beverage containers, packaging materials, fabrics, films and other consumer and industry applications," the statement read.
BP and SOCAR expect to work towards a potential final investment decision in 2019, which could result in start-up of the new plant in 2023. Following the signing of the HoA, BP and SOCAR Turkey expect to undertake design work for the facility, which would allow for the integration of feedstock supplies from the nearby new STAR refinery and Petkim petrochemicals complex, both owned by SOCAR Turkey.
Luis Sierra, CEO for BP's global aromatics unit, said that if taken forward, this would be the largest integrated PTA, PX and aromatics complex in the western hemisphere and BP's first major new aromatics platform since BP's Zhuhai site in China opened nearly 20 years ago.
"The combination of BP's leading proprietary technology and integration with SOCAR's new refinery could create an outstanding platform to serve Turkey's growing polyester packaging and textiles industry. We look forward to drawing on the strengths of both BP and SOCAR to explore the creation of a highly competitive facility," he asserted.
BP's latest proprietary PTA technology has significantly lower capital and operating costs when compared with other PTA technologies. It is more energy efficient, uses less water and produces less solid waste than similar technologies on the market. Vagif Aliyev, chairman of the SOCAR Turkey board, said in the statement the area covering all of SOCAR Turkey's projects in Aliağa had recently become Turkey's first private industrial zone.
"The immediate proximity to the feedstock and infrastructure provided by SOCAR's other facilities will contribute significantly to the competitive power of the new facility. Expanding our immense refining and petrochemical complex, built at the gateway to world markets on the Aegean coast of Turkey, we aim to continue to contribute to the economies of the two brother countries - Turkey and Azerbaijan," Aliyev said.
SOCAR Turkey's CEO Zaur Gahramanov hailed the new investment proposal as a "win-win" situation for both SOCAR and Turkey.
"It will not only increase our share in Turkey's petrochemical markets, but it will also help to reduce Turkey's imports of these products, hence reducing the foreign trade deficit. All of our projects in Turkey are planned with this goal in mind," Gahramanov said.
BP and SOCAR are longstanding partners in a number of major oil and gas production and transportation projects in Azerbaijan, Turkey and the wider region, including the Shah Deniz 2 gas project in Azerbaijan that began production early this year, exporting natural gas to Turkey and beyond.