04-Dec-2001 - BP p.l.c.

BP Starts Commercial Production From World's Largest Ethyl Acetate Plant

BP has started full-scale commercial production from its new Avada( ethyl acetate production unit at its site at Saltend, Hull, UK. The 220,000 tonnes a year capacity unit is the world's largest single ethyl acetate production unit.

The Avada plant was initially commissioned in June 2001 with on-specification product being produced only two weeks after start up. Plant production rates were increased to 75 per cent during the third quarter of the year and the plant is now undergoing its final high rate performance-proving trials.

Andrew Channell, Product Manager, BP Acetate Esters, said: "We are very pleased with the way the plant has started, particularly that it took just two weeks to get to on-specification ethyl acetate. Product quality is exceptional, and we are confident that the Avada process is producing the best ethyl acetate ever made by BP."

Dave Smith, General Manager, BP Solvents, added: "The new Avada unit is a world class manufacturing unit which is now delivering leading product quality - we're delighted with the success of the technology. We are just as pleased with the excellent safety record of the project, with over three million man-hours completed without a lost time accident."

The plant is the first to use BP's proprietary Avada technology which produces ethyl acetate directly from ethylene and acetic acid. Ethylene is supplied to the plant through the recent extension of the UK ethylene pipeline system, linking Hull to BP's Grangemouth complex, and acetic acid is supplied from three plants on the Saltend site itself.

The latest control and on-line analysis technologies are employed in the operation of the unit, allowing it to be efficiently managed by a small team of operators. The new plant is the first to be controlled from the Saltend site's new Central Control Room. It is intended that all plant operators on the site will eventually be located in this single state-of-the-art control room.

Production from the new plant has replaced ethyl acetate production from the existing esterification unit at Hull and that toll-manufactured for BP by Enichem on its unit at Porto Marghera, Italy, which closed in January 2001.

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    BP's chemical business is focussed on aromatics and acetyls, producing and marketing PX, PTA, acetic acid, acetic anhydride and derivatives primarliy in the US, Europe and Asia. In Germany and China, BP also produces and markets olefins and derivatives. more

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