Versalis plans cracker restart at Venice plant

Versalis SPA, the wholly owned chemicals subsidiary of Eni SPA, is planning to temporarily restart the 490,000-tonne/year ethylene steam cracker at its Porto Marghera petrochemicals plant in Venice, Italy.

Versalis SPA, the wholly owned chemicals subsidiary of Eni SPA, is planning to temporarily restart the 490,000-tonne/year ethylene steam cracker at its Porto Marghera petrochemicals plant in Venice, Italy.

The planned restart, which is scheduled during the first half of February, results from an agreement Versails reached with Royal Dutch Shell PLC to provide temporary ethylene supply support to the Dutch producer, Eni said.

The short-term restart of the cracking plant, which halted operations in February 2014, does not affect plans by Versalis to convert the Porto Marghera site into a production center for bio-based products as a means to ensure the manufacturing location’s long-term competitiveness and viability based on environmental sustainability, Eni said.

In November 2014, Claudio Descalzi, Eni’s chief executive officer, said the Porto Marghera project would involve the creation of a “green chemistry” center that includes two new production plants equipped with technology to produce lubricants and detergents from vegetable oil feedstock, according to a Nov. 14, 2014, release from the company.

Once Versalis has completed the conversion of its Porto Marghera operations into an integrated “green chemical” hub, the site’s steam cracking plant will remain closed permanently, according to information posted to Eni’s web site.

Eni previously completed the conversion of its 80,000-b/d Venice refinery at Porto Marghera into a biorefinery base for the production of biodiesel (OGJ Online, Feb. 18, 2014).

The temporary supply agreement with Shell follows interruptions to ethylene production after a June 2014 explosion at Shell subsidiary Shell Nederland Chemie BV’s Moerdijk petrochemical plant in the Netherlands (OGJ Online, June 5, 2014).

Work to repair and rebuild the Moerdijk production site began in September of last year, according to a Sept. 17, 2014, release from Shell Nederland.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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