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Bolivia YPFB progresses on Gran Chaco Petrochemical Complex

YPFB completed Tarija Ethylene – Polyethylene FEED

The wholly state-owned oil company Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) is making good progress on its largest petrochemical complex after completing the front end engineering and design (FEED) work for the ethylene and polyethylene units to be built in the Gran Chaco Province within the southern Bolivia Department of Tarija.

YPFB_Tarija_Gran-Chaco_Ethylene_Propylene_Project_MapIn 2011, Bolivia President Evo Moralles had declared the exploration and the production of natural gas as a national priority whereas the Department of Tarija concentrate 80% of the country identified reserves.

Bordering Argentina and Paraguay in the south of Bolivia, Tarija holds 41.7 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of liquid-rich natural gas.

Immediately YPFB started the construction of a first gas treatment plant in Madrejones-Yacuiba area, few kilometers south of Tarija.

Processing 32 million cubic feet per day (cf/d), the YPFB Gran Chaco gas processing plant is for now due to export its gas and condensate to Argentina and Brazil for now.

In 2013, YPFB started the conceptual study for the construction of the Gran Chaco Petrochemical Complex including units for the production of:

 – Ethylene

 – High density polyethylene (HDPE)

 – Low density polyethylene (LDPE)

 – Linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE)

 – Propylene

 – Polypropylene

 – Offsites and utilities

Since that time YPFB carried out the FEED work on Gran Chaco ethylene and polyethylene units and evaluated the corresponding licences. 

YPFB at FEED on Tarija Propylene and Polypropylene

In May 2014, the President Morales announced an investment estimated to $1.8 billion capital expenditure from these design studies to build the Gran Chaco Petrochemical Complex.

With a capacity of 27,700 cubic meter per day (cm/d) producing 2,030 tons per day (t/d) of ethane and 2,037 t/d of liquid petroleum gas (LPG), the YPFB Gran Chaco gas processing plant should provide the ethane and propane feedstock to supply the adjacent petrochemical complex.

YPFB_Tarija_Gran-Chaco_Ethylene_Propylene_ProjectFrom the conclusions of the conceptual studies, the Gran Chaco should be designed with the production capacities of:

 – 600,000 t/y of ethylene

 – 300,000 t/y of propylene

Anyway since Bolivia domestic market is not yet able to consume the production of the petrochemicals generated by the Gran Chaco project, Bolivia is expecting to export most its shipments to the neighboring countries of South America.

 Therefore YPFB is looking for partners to invest in the Gran Chaco project not only for the financing part but also to share experience and contribute to the marketing and distribution of the hydrocarbon specialties produced by the complex.

After completing the FEED work on the ethylene and polyethylene production units, YPFB is starting the FEED on the propylene and polypropylene units in the meantime of the financing resolution, thus expecting the first production from the Gran Chaco Petrochemical Complex by 2019.

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2 Comments to “Bolivia YPFB progresses on Gran Chaco Petrochemical Complex”

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