Statoil produces more than 2,400 tonnes of methanol daily at Tjeldbergodden. The company has now entered into a co-operation with the German technology group Lurgi for converting methanol into propylene. Lurgi is to build a demonstration plant for converting methanol into propylene, a raw material for plastics production, at Statoil's Tjeldbergodden plant in Norway. The plant is planned to come on stream before the summer.
'The contract will enable us to gain first-hand experience of this technology and help us to develop a new market for methanol,' says Sjur Haugen, manager for business development in Statoil's methanol unit. Haugen believes that the test plant will be useful if Statoil decides later to build a large-scale plant. The demand for propylene is expected to increase by six percent annually on a global basis.
Today, petroleum is used as feedstock in about 98 per cent of the world's propylene production. Lurgi considers its methanol-based production process to be more profitable and cost-effective than a petroleum-based process. The Tjeldbergodden plant will put the group in a better position for commercialising the technology. Statoil has a 50 per cent interest in the Borealis petrochemicals group, and producing propylene from methanol could help to integrate further Statoil's and Borealis' operations.