Sonatrach: 11 billion USD allocated to development of petrochemical industries for 2022-2026

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ALGIERS- The Sonatrach firm has allocated a financial envelope of 11 billion Usd, under its five-year plan 2022-2026, to the development of the petrochemical and refining industries, indicated the director of the Methods and Operations Division of the Refining and Petrochemicals Activity (RPC), Miloud Amara.

Speaking, Wednesday evening, for the national television program “Economic Issues” on the theme “The petrochemical and refining industries in Algeria … the new strategy of the Sonatrach group for the development of these industries”, Mr. Amara affirmed that “Sonatrach has allocated a financial envelope of 11 billion Usd to develop the RPC activity, planned within the framework of the investment budget allocated under the five-year plan 2022-2026, estimated at 40 billion Usd”.

This budget is part of the strategy of the Sonatrach group for supplying the national market with petroleum products, namely; petrochemical raw materials for industry in general, and SMEs-SMIs in particular, he explained.

For his part, the Director of the Petrochemical Exploitation Division, Hacène Lama dwelt on the crude oil processing strategy, specifying that Sonatrach currently has (7) seven petrochemical complexes for processing on a national scale, which has more than 3,000 permanent employees, including two complexes 100% owned by the group, and five others created through partnerships.

For him, these complexes made it possible to recover nearly 5 billion m3 of natural gas during the year and export more than 1 billion USD in petrochemical products in 2019.

After pointing out that this figure should be multiplied in 2022, the official specified that the strategy adopted in the short and medium terms would consist in concretizing a program of realization of 6 petrochemical development projects within the framework of the implementation of the hydrocarbon development projects drawn up by the government in order to establish a petrochemical industrial fabric in Algeria and reduce the import bill for petrochemical products.

He recalled the realization of 3 projects by Sonatrach and 3 others within the framework of the partnership with foreigners.

This is the MTBE (Methyl tert-butyl ether) project, used as an additive to improve the production of unleaded petrol at refinery level and, thus, renouncing its importation. The launch of this project took place recently at the level of the industrial zone of Arzew.

The second project concerns the construction of a production unit for linear alkyl-benzene (LAB) in Skikda, used in the manufacture of detergents, with a production capacity of 100,000 tonnes/year, which will reduce the import and establish Algeria as an exporting country of these products.

The third project concerns the naphtha and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cracking complex with a production capacity of 1 million tonnes/year which will be carried out in the Skikda industrial zone.

He also recalled the construction project, in Turkey, of a petrochemical complex for the transformation of propane into polypropylene, within the framework of a foreign investment project for the Sonatrach group, the Sonatrach project with a company company for the construction of a unit for the production of 550,000 tonnes/year of polypropylene in Arzew, as well as another project in Arzew for the production of methanol and its derivatives to meet the fertilizer needs of the agricultural sector in Algeria.

For his part, Mr. Amara considers that the development of petrochemicals will enable Sonatrach to develop the hydrocarbon products produced locally in its complexes and refineries and to save money in foreign currency, citing, by way of example, that Sonatrach has released, in 2021, nearly 170 million USD for the import of MTBE which improves the quality of unleaded gasoline.

Regarding the construction in Skikda of a production unit for linear gasoline used in the manufacture of detergents, Mr. Amara indicated that this project is in progress and that the construction contract will be signed in March 2023 after completion of the partner selection phase, specifying that the completion deadline was set at 36 months.

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