IRPC’s new DCC cyclone reactor will enable annual production of more than 640,000 tons of propylene

Source: press release, 28 October 2022

photo: Sarens
photo: Sarens

The new unit installed at IRPC’s petrochemical plant will maximise polymer-grade propylene production and the recovery of polymer-grade ethylene, to be used as feedstock for petrochemical derivate units at the same plant.

Sarens – provider of heavy lifting, engineered transport and crane rental – assisted IRPC in the dismantling of the previous cyclone reactor, which had been installed in 2012, and the erection and installation of the new unit.

IRPC Public Company Limited’s petrochemical plant in Rayong, Thailand, is currently undergoing renovation and upgrading works to optimise its production processes. One of the most important upgrades is the replacement of its DCC (Deep Catalytic Cracking) cyclone reactor, which will allow the plant to exceed the production of 640,000 tons of propylene produced per year.

This new upgrade is in addition to those carried out in March and are part of IRPC’s ongoing efforts to make its petrochemical plants the benchmark in Asia, for which it has invested more than USD 1.3 billion since 2012.

IRPC decided to rely on the international expertise of Sarens for the new upgrade works, which was in charge of the dismantling of the plant’s DCC cyclone reactor and the lifting and installation of the new unit. For this work, Sarens sent three cranes from its international fleet to Rayong: a Terex-Demag CC2800, a Terex-Demag AC650, and a Tadano Faun ATF160G, as well as a team of seven specialists.

Sarens team had to adapt the design of the lifting frame to be used for both the disassembly and the lifting and installation of the new reactor, as the weight to be lifted was much greater than initially planned. In addition, the need to interrupt the operation of the plant only for the strictly necessary time led the Sarens specialists to operate uninterruptedly during the development of this new project.

According to Socrates Kannan, Sarens’ Fleet&Operations Manager in Thailand, “the operating time has been the main challenge for us. We were aware that any delay in dismantling the existing reactor or installing the new one could mean a delay in the reopening of the plant, and therefore a financial loss for our client. Therefore, the entire Sarens team worked around the clock to meet our client’s needs.”

The new DCC reactor cyclone will allow IRPC to optimise the process of distillation of crude oil by transforming long residue – the remains resulting from the crude oil process – into propylene. Thanks to this new unit, IRPC expects to exceed 640,000 tons per year, of which approximately half will be used in the manufacture of polypropylene, while the other half will be dedicated to the production of specialised chemicals that will be used in the manufacture of value-added products.

Sarens owns more than 60 years of international experience in the development and installation of strategically important projects. In the energy sector, Sarens has been directly involved in the Clean Fuel Project’s expansion works in Thailand, or in the ensemble of two jackets in the Al Shaheen Oil Field in Qatar. The company has also worked in the expansion of the S-Oil plant in Ulsan, South Korea, in the construction of the Petroperu refinery in Talara (Peru), and in the Skikda refinery in Algeria.