Russia's Lukoil mulls plan for new PP complex in Bulgaria

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Russian oil and petchems group Lukoil is considering a plan to construct a new polypropylene complex at its Lukoil Neftohim Burgas refinery and petrochemicals site on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast.

The Moscow-based company is reported to be exploring the idea of ‘modernising the old production’ at the site investing in a new 150,000tpa propylene plant. Lukoil currently produces around 80,000tpa of PP in Bulgaria.

Lukoil group president Vagit Alekperov was quoted by Eastern European media as referring to a possible project for a ‘small’ petchems complex there. Such a scheme could involve a budget of up to €1bn and take around three years to complete, according to Russian investment experts.

Additional PP capacity at Burgas in Bulgaria would likely be exported to the European Union and Turkey.

Lukoil’s Bulgarian petchems operations were closed down in 2009 in the wake of the 2009-10 global financial crisis. While the Burgas PP plant was restarted in 2010, the remaining operations have remained mothballed since then. The long term future of the whole complex has until now been in doubt.

That is partly because of the complex’s original technical layout, the loss of markets to cheaper foreign imports and little prospect a buyer would purchase the whole highly integrated complex.     

The site includes a 150,000tpa ethylene cracker, an 85,000tpa low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant, an 80,000tpa ethylene oxide unit and a monoethylene glycol (MEG) facility of 100,000tpa. 

Lukoil has another PP production plant with capacity of more than 120,000tpa at its Stavrolen site in the Stavropol region of south west Russia.

In Bulgaria, Lukoil still produces other petroleum products including gasoline, gas-oil, diesel and jet engine fuel, bitumen and raw material for olefins.  The company also has 220 petrol filling stations across Bulgaria.

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